Tipul cu idei

Martie 31, 2017

Why not having free will would really suck

Filed under: Eseuri — tipulcuidei @ 5:11 am
Tags: , ,

As a hard incompatibilist, Derk Pereboom (2007) argues that free will (which is necessary for moral responsibility) does not exist, as its existence would be incompatible with both a deterministic world, and an indeterministic world. Moreover, despite common intuition, he also argues that that we can live without free will, as its absence would not have detrimental effects on morality, having a meaning in life, or on the way we form relationships at an emotional level (Pereboom, 2001; 2007). Not only that, he also puts forward the idea that ‘hard incompatibilism holds out the promise of substantial benefits for human life’ (Pereboom, 2001, p. 481), by the fact that it would help us get rid of moral anger, an emotion that has negative effects on our relationships and wellbeing. Yet, assuming that hard incompatibilism is correct, I believe that the claim that we can simply accept that we have no free will, without having any repercussions on the way we carry on with our lives, is incorrect. In the following paragraphs, I will endeavour to present the negative effects that the absence of free will would have on human life as we know it.

Firstly, let us consider the effects of hard incompatibilism would have on the way we deal with wrongdoers. Pereboom (2001) argues that we should stop treating wrongdoers as blameworthy for their actions, thus, criminals, for example, should not be punished, but rather, we must attempt to rehabilitate them, and only in extreme cases, they should be isolated from the rest of society. Much like individuals that are put into quarantine because they carry contagious diseases, they should not be blamed, so should not be treated more harshly than it is necessary to contain the danger they pose to their community. I have nothing to oppose Pereboom so far, and I might also note, the idea that people should give a non-retributive response to wrongdoing has been around for some time now (in Christianity, for example, they say ‘Judge not, that ye be not judged’ [Mathew 7:1]).

That again, this principle would be very difficult to implement in real life. This approach to wrongdoing would perhaps require us to modify our legal system in such a way that would increase considerably the number of executions, to neutralise the danger some criminals pose, whilst also minimising their discomfort. It may seem very counter intuitive at first, but considering the distress caused by being locked up in a cell, isolated from others (to avoid actions of violence among prisoners[1]), death may actually seem preferable. And that is especially the case if we have a strictly physicalist perspective of the word. As Epicurus would say, there is nothing frightening or painful about not existing. Yet, re-embracing execution as the best method to protect society from murderers would probably be a disturbing thought for many persons. Some would counter argue that it would still be possible to create reasonably comfortable places of confinement for such dangerous individuals (e.g.: remote island reservations), provided with sufficient security measures (e.g.: an impressive amount of video cameras and well trained guards), which would avoid violence among prisoners, while also allowing for some social interaction. This would make executions unnecessary. Indeed, this would be a possibility. But assuming that such a system would be financially feasible (which in reality is not, for most countries), making prisons too comfortable would actually encourage people to commit crime, in order to obtain a carefree life. Even in our present penal system this problem exists. It is not uncommon for homeless or poor people to commit petty crime in order to receive a small jail sentence, just enough to have shelter during the winter months and free medical care[2]. While this may not be such a serious problem when it comes to minor crimes like the breaking of a shop window, it would be quite alarming if some individuals would start committing violent crimes, just to get a long time stay in prison, a nice retiring place. The only way to avoid this would be if everyone’s lives would be so fulfilling in freedom, that no one would like to go to prison on purpose, regardless of the comfort it would offer. Yet I am afraid that this is just an utopia. Thus, treating people as not morally responsible is not that simple as Perboom tries to suggest.

Moreover, if all wrongdoers would begin to believe themselves as not being blameworthy, that would make their rehabilitation even more difficult than it presently is. It is widely considered that the feelings of guilt and shame play an important role in redemption, as testified by many rehabilitated wrongdoers. Just to give an example, let us consider the case of Teodor Stanescu. He was a political prisoner of the Romanian Communist regime, and during the 1950s he went through what was known as the ‘re-education program’, which basically meant being constantly brutally tortured (mostly by other prisoners), and in order to stop his torture, he became a torturer himself for his former comrades who maintained their integrity. But after his release, he felt shame and guilt for his actions while imprisoned, and spent the rest of his life asking forgiveness from his victims and helping others, and he is currently a monk. But according to hard incompatibilism, one should not blame him- or herself for his or her actions, thus getting rid of shame and guilt, which have been up until now considered catalysers of redemption. It is true that this would have eliminated the torment that Stanescu felt over the years, but it would have made him less likely to do all the good that he has done. In addition, telling criminals that they do not have that special attribute called free will, might make it even harder for them to believe that they can actually change for the better. ‘I can’t change who I am’ is already a phrase to often heard from career criminals, even without them being told that their lives are causally determined, or that it all depends on mere luck.

And this brings us to another problem that would arise from accepting that we have no free will: what meaning would our life still have? Wouldn’t giving up on the belief that we are praiseworthy mean losing the feeling of being fulfilled? This is not the case, according to Pereboom (2001), who argues that an accomplishment (like graduating University), even though it would not be our accomplishment in the traditional sense, it is an accomplishment none the less, and even if we do not have real control over our accomplishments, ‘we can still reasonably hope for success in achieving what we want most even if we turn out to be creatures of our environments and our dispositions’ (ibid, p. 481). Pereboom also argues that this would not have a negative effect on our hopes and self esteem, because ‘people typically do not become dispirited when they come to believe that success in a career depends very much on one’s upbringing, opportunities in one’s society, the assistance of colleagues, and good fortune’ (ibid, p. 483). This claim seems to be exaggerated though. Most people would say that earning a million dollars by building your own company is more satisfying than winning a million dollars at the lottery, and not necessary because one would feel more productive to society, but rather for the sheer pleasure of being a self made person. But according to hard incompatibilism, life is a lottery. A lottery with higher chances of winning something than that to which you buy tickets to, but a lottery none the less. So it seems premature to say that giving up the belief in free will would not be at all damaging to our feeling of fulfilment. Furthermore, while the thought of having a lottery-life may not be very distressful for the privileged (coming from the middle class at least), as they have a decent chance of winning, it is not the same for the people coming from the lower classes. As depressing as it may seem, only ten percent of children coming from a poor background truly manage to transcend their condition. And those that achieve this, mostly do so because they believe they have the free will, something special, that can defeat all odds. For those individuals, hard incompatibilism would take that power away from them.

Another important issue with hard incompatibilism is the concern that rejecting moral responsibility and free will would have a negative effect on how we form emotional relationships with other people. And indeed, it does seem to be intuitively the case that certain relationships form on the virtue of our free will, and on virtue of moral praise. Pereboom (2001; 2007) rejects this objection, arguing that people do not really form relationships on the basis of moral praise, and that free will does not play an important role in the development of love. He gives the example or parental love, reminding us that ‘parents love their children rarely, if ever, because they possess this sort of free will, or because they choose to do what is right by free will, or because they deserve to be loved because of their freely willed choices’ (Pereboom, 2001, p. 486). It is further proposed that this sort of love could be extended to all types of relationships, concluding on this matter:

If we can aspire to the sort of love parents typically have toward children, or the kind romantic lovers ideally have toward one another, or the type shared by friends who are immediately attracted to one another, and whose relationship is deepened by their interactions, then the possibility of fulfilment in personal relationships is far from undermined. (Pereboom, 2001, p. 487)

Letting aside the difficulty of extending parental love to all the persons in our lives, there are some errors in the above fragment, which Pereboom commits by over generalizing the way people form emotional bonds with one another. I will try to illustrate the way in which free will does play an important role in the forming of relationships, by giving some personal examples (I do not want to claim that the majority of people have similar experiences). Let us begin with the forming of friendships.

Personally speaking, my relationships with most of my friends did not start by being ‘immediately attracted to one another’, and as a matter of fact, my friendships which were based on such an attraction usually faded away eventually. The relationships between me and my friends developed in time, on the basis of mutual moral praise, despite the fact that our initial contacts were kind of cold. My friends usually felt attracted (they say) by my seemingly strong free will, and I, in return, I loved them because they chose, by their own free will, to stand by me, when others did not. If hard incompatibilism is true, than the forming of such friendships would be impossible, even though this is the only type of friendship I have. So for people similar to me in this aspect, hard incompatibism being true would mean the end of one of the most beautiful sides of life (saying that we would simply learn to live with that is not acceptable).

Furthermore, despite Pereboom’s claims, free willed choices often play an important role in the forming of romantic relationships.  Nowadays, people usually refuse to have arranged marriages, based on some interest or another, preferring a partner that freely wills to be with them (I am not saying that practice is always congruent with theory). In many parts of the world, there was (and still is) the custom that families with financial means, but with a disabled young person in them, would usually try to arrange a marriage between their family member, and someone coming from a poor family or someone who is disabled as well. That is to ensure their disabled family member will have a family and someone to care for him or her, and in return, the spouse would escape poverty, loneliness, and so on. Now this practice is becoming obsolete, because a lot of disabled people also desire to be chosen not out of necessity, but out of free will, even though such arrangements would also eventually lead to emotional attachment. But if hard incompatibilism is true, this would be impossible, thus irrational, and we should abandon such aspiration. So some might say that it is a good idea to return to the old ways. After all, if all disabled people (and other categories that have problems getting a relationship) from developed countries would be coupled with someone from a developing country, it would not only decrease the level of loneliness (a major concern in modern society), but would also decrease world poverty. Yet, the thought of such changes in attitudes towards romantic relationships would be disturbing, to the extent to which the mere term ‘romantic’ would seem futile to many individuals.

So far, I have presented the disadvantages of hard incompatibilism, or at least some aspects that makes it problematic. But does it bring any benefits? Pereboom (2001; 2007) argues that because hard incompatibilism implies that individuals are not blameworthy for their wrongdoing, it would also help get rid of moral anger (in theory, at least). This would be beneficial, as moral anger is destructive to human relationships, and ‘in extreme cases, it can motivate people to torture and kill’ (Pereboom, 2001, 488). Yet, I have to disagree, on the basis that this not really a new benefit that hard incompatibilism would bring. The compelling arguments for the claim that moral anger is pointless and destructive have been around for millennia, for example in Christianity and in Buddhism, arguments that were convincing even for individuals that were not religious. And yet, despite this, moral anger still exists, even among the followers of these religions, because arriving at a rational conclusion is something very distant from living by that conclusion. So in terms of moral anger, hard incompatibilism does not bring any new solution to the problem.

In the above paragraphs, I attempted to present a few reasons why we could not easily live without free will (or at least the belief that we have free will). If hard incompatibilism would be true, it would raise serious problems in terms of morality, self esteem, the forming of emotional relationships, and our hopes for the future in general. But we need not despair, because we do not have to accept hard incompatibilism. I believe that we can reject hard incompatibilism by appealing to what Chisholm (1983) calls agent causation (meaning that our will is an uncaused cause). Even though Pereboom claims that agent causation is improbable according to present physical theories, I believe that evidence for agent causation does exist. But I will leave this topic for another paper.

 

 

References

Chisholm, R. (1983) ‘Human Freedom and the Self’, from Watson ed Free Will Oxford Readings in Philosophy.

Pereboom, D. (2001). ‘Living without Free Will. The Case for Hard Incompatibilism’ from Kane ed The Oxford Handbook of Free Will.

Pereboom, D. (2007) ‘Why We Have No Free Will and Can Live without it’ from Feinberg Shafer-Landau eds Reason and Responsibility.

[1]It is well known that that one of the most traumatising aspects of going to prison, is being terrorised by other inmates.

[2]One of my former lecturers works as a psychologist in a Romanian penitentiary, and used to talk about this social phenomenon at lectures.

Martie 27, 2017

An A series flow of time

Filed under: Eseuri — tipulcuidei @ 7:35 pm
Tags: ,

In 1908, John McTaggart Ellis McTaggart published ‘The Unreality of Time’, an essay in which he argued time is not a real entity of the physical world, but an illusion. Yet, this paper did not become famous for McTaggart’s argument against the reality of time, but rather for the two models / theories on the flow of time: the A-series and the B-series (Markosian, 2013; McDaniel, 2013). In a few words, the A series refers to the flow of time as being a series of events ‘running from the far past through the near past to the present, and then from the present to the near future and the far future’, whereas the B series ‘runs from earlier to later’ (McTaggart, 1908, p. 458), which means that, according to the B series theory (or simply B-theory), time does not flow in reality, the distinction between past events, present events, and future events being subjective (Dowden, 2013). Being aware of the fact the previous description is rather ambiguous, in the following paragraphs, I will humbly try to give a more extended presentation of what McTaggart meant by ‘A series’ and ‘B series’, while also giving an account of the time theories that resulted from these two views on the flow of time: presentism and the growing universe theory, which follow the A series view; and eternalism / the block universe theory, which follows the B series view (see Dowden, 2013; Markosian, 2013). In addition, I will also argue for a personal A series theory of time, which is to some extent different from the mainstream A theories (presentism and the growing universe theory).

Firstly, let us further explore what the A series and the B series mean. They are two different ways of seeing events positioned in time. In the A series, events are arranged to go from distant past, to near past, present, near future, distant future. Being two days into the past, one hour into the past, present, or three hours into the future are intrinsic properties of an event (A-properties), the event changing according to these properties, ‘first becoming less and less future, then becoming present, and subsequently becoming more and more past’ (Markozian, 2013). In the B series, events are seen just as being earlier than or later than, the A-properties are merely subjective, depending on when what moment in time is present, and ‘the distinction introduced among positions in time by the A series – the distinction of past, present and future – is simply a constant illusion of our mind’ (McTaggart, 1908, p. 458). McTaggart insists that time requires change to be real, which in turn means the A series must be real, because the B series alone does not include change. But the A series is contradictory, according to McTaggart, because every event would simultaneously have all the A properties, which are exclusive from one another. Thus, the A series being unreal, time is unreal.

Despite the argument of McTaggart, most philosophers have continued to believe in the reality of time. Yet, some were convinced by the existence of at least one of his series. There are those generically called B theorists, who believe that the A series is unreal, but the B series is real and sufficient to account for temporal relations. Others (the A theorists) believe the A series is more fundamental than the B series, and is necessary for a correct theory of time (Markosian, 2013). A theorists and B theorists usually have conflicting views / theories on matters such as time flow / passage, and the difference between past, present, and future.

A theorists are generally either presentists, or adherent to the growing universe theory. According to presentism, only present events exist, because we only have access to present events. No past or future events exist, therefore past and future are not real. A more moderate A theory, is the growing universe theory, according to which past events exist and are as real as present events. Future events do not exist and are not real. B theorists adopt a block universe metaphysical view of time, in which all events exist, there being no objective difference between past, present, and future events, the distinction between them being the subjective experience, the temporal now being no more special than the spatial here. (Dowden, 2013; Markosian, 2013)

Most B theorists hold the view that there is no objective time flow, only a subjective flow, an illusion induced by our perception processes. This is also known as the static theory of time flow. Ismael (in prep.), an advocate of the static theory, argues that the perception of time moving is not due to the flow of real time, but is due to the flow of processes. We have access to the present through our immediate perception; to the past, through our ever reconstructing memories; to the future, only through our expectations. The difference in the ways of processing, results in the different ways we perceive past, as opposed to present, present as opposed to future.

A theorists on the other hand, believe there is also an objective time flow, independent of our perception (this is also called the dynamic theory of time flow). Maudlin (2002) comes with a different approach in defending the dynamic flow of time. Instead of arguing for the existence of an objective time flow, he counter argues the arguments against the flow of time. To give just an example, Price (1996, cited by Maudlin, 2002) has argued that every flow must have a certain rate, which would be absurd to consider a flow of time, because it would have a rate of seconds per second, which is not a rate physically speaking. Maudlin response is that this is not a valid objection. To express the rate of a river per hour, means to express the distance that the water of the river will have travel (10 kilometres per hour, let’s say). But distances in time are not measured in kilometres, but in hours, minutes, seconds etc, so ‘time does indeed pass at the rate of one hour per hour, or one second per second, or 3,600 seconds per hour’ (Mauldin, 2002, p. 261).

But I think I should stop here with the presentation of established theories of time. As I mentioned in the introduction of this paper, I am personally inclined to believe in an A theory of the passage of time, which does not exactly fall neither under presentism, nor under the growing universe theory, but rather, incorporates elements from both theories. But before I can expand on this, I have to ask for the patience of the reader, in order to engage in a brief, yet necessary discussion on ontological issues such as the differences between being and existence, and between actual and possible. After all, one of the major differences between the three theories presented above refers to which events exist, and which do not exist.

As presented by Reicher (2012), Austrian philosopher Alexius Meinong has proposed that being is not equivalent with existence, thus there are objects that do not exist, a view that has been embraced by other philosophers, such as Roderick Chisholm, Terence Parsons, Graham Priest, and so on, but also criticised by  Gottlob Frege, Bertrand Russell, W. V. O. Quine, etc. Despite being a controversial matter, considering that there are non-existent objects makes sense. Let us take as examples mythological creatures such as Pegasus, vampires, or dragons. We know that these creatures do not exist (they are not out there in the real world), yet we are able to utter meaningful sentences about them (‘A dragon blows fire.’), and we even seem to have some basic knowledge about their biology (like the physical differences between Pegasus and a unicorn). I am aware that there are some strong arguments against Meinong’s theory of objects, which would be better addressed in a separate essay. For our present purpose, let us accept that there are non-existent objects. But if it makes sense that some objects do not exist (e.g.: the French Revolution), but just are, it would also make sense that some events do not exist anymore, but they still are. So it can be the case that only present events exist, and still have a growing universe of past events, which despite that they do not exist, have the property of being. Once an event seizes to be present, and becomes past, it loses existence, but not being, and it becomes more and more past, by the fact that its effects become less and less obvious in the present (e.g.: the effects of Caesar’s war against the Gauls are less evident than those of wars happened in the 20th century, but more evident than the war between Spartans and Persians).

So we have seen how events can change their properties when becoming a past event from present events, but how can we account for future events? They do not exist, but do they have the property of being? Yes, they do. However, a future event distinguishes itself from a past event and a present event in that the later are actual (they belong to the real / actual world), whereas the future event is only possible (belongs to a possible world). I want to be clear that I am referring to possible worlds in the sense in which Saul Kripke (2004) would understand them (worlds that could exist or could have existed, with events that could happen or could have happen). I am not referring to possible worlds as Lewis (2004) would, who believed that possible worlds really exist out there, isolated from the actual world. A future event becomes less and less distant from the present, by becoming more and more possible. For example, a human traveling to Mars was less possible 50 years ago, than it is now, and 50 years into the future, it will become more and more possible, until it becomes actual (present, then past).

Let us see what model of time passage results from everything discussed above.

Past events are actual, but non-existent. Present events are actual and existent. Future events are not actual, nor existent, but possible, and can become actual and existent. The latter is an important characteristic of future events, which distinguish them from other events that are possible, yet cannot become actual and existent. Take for example the event of Obama losing the 2012 presidential election. This is perfectly conceivable, so it is a possible past event. Yet it cannot become a reality, unlike possible future events, which can become actual events, if favourable circumstances are provided (e.g.: it is possible that I will drink coffee tomorrow, but this event becomes actual only if I want it to become actual). When a future event becomes present, it changes from being possible, non-actual and non-existent, to being possible, actual and existent; and when it becomes past, it changes from being possible, actual and existent, to being possible, actual, but non-existent. And there we have it: an A series which satisfies the requirement of change, necessary, according to McTaggart, in order for time to be real. The flow of time is the continuous transition that events go through, from non-actual, to actual, from non-existence; to existence; from existence, to non-existence.

An adherent to the static theory will probably challenge that what I have described is an objective flow of time. They will argue that events becoming less and less future by becoming more and more possible, and becoming more and more past, by their effects becoming less and less obvious in the present, is only due to our subjective experience of the world. If humans travelling to Mars is possible, it has equally always been possible, even two millennia ago. And the effect of the war between Caesar and the Gauls are still there, just like the effects of the Second World War. Events become less obvious, and more possible from a human subjective perspective, not from an objective historical perspective. I can see the point of these objections. But consider the following. If, for whatever reason, governments would have decided to not start outer space research more than a half a century ago, but only starting in the la 2000s, it is reasonable to believe that travelling to Mars would have been an even more distant possibility (technology advances as time advances). And a gladius dropped by a Roman solder and buried in the mud, would be disintegrated by now, due to the passing of so much time since then, whereas ammunition from the Second World War can still be found in the former battle fields. Perhaps there is a subjective time flow, but does not exclude there being an objective time flow as well.

Nevertheless, one may argue that a non-existent event is not the same as an existent event, nor a non-actual event, with an actual event. In order for an event P to be the same with an event Q, P must have the same properties as Q, but the property of being non-existent is contradictory with the property of existence, and the same goes for being non-actual and being actual, thus, going back to McTaggart’s argument for the unreality of time. A discussion regarding criteria of identity may be too vast for the purpose of this essay. For the moment, I will limit myself to say that it is safe to assume that certain events (like certain objects), can lose certain properties, without losing their identity.

To conclude, the present paper attempted to give an account of the views of the flow of time, derived from the A and B theories. In the process, I also tried to argue for a personal view of time flow, an objective flow of time, integrated in a growing past theory, in which the past is real, but only the present exists, while the future is merely possible. This theory is perfectible, requiring some more thought to clearly distinguish the difference between near part and distant past. As a final remark, it is notable that in most philosophical approaches (including the one discussed here), events were treated like (abstract) objects that possess certain properties, time being the frame in which they are positioned, much like space is a frame for regular objects. But maybe time is something else, a metaphysical entity like a force, or general l order of the Universe. But that is a different topic, for a different paper.

 

 

 

 

 

References

Dowden, B. (2013) ‘Time’, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://www.iep.utm.edu/time/

Kripke, S. (2004). Selection from ‘Naming and Necessity’, in Crane, T., & Farkas, K. (eds.), Metaphysics. A Guide and Anthology, Oxford UP, Oxford

Lewis, D. (2004). Selection from ‘On the Plurarality of Worlds’, in Crane, T., & Farkas, K. (eds.), Metaphysics. A Guide and Anthology, Oxford UP, Oxford

McTaggart, J. M. E. (1908), ‘The Unreality of Time’, Mind 17, 457-474,

McDaniel, K. (2013) ‘John M. McTaggart’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/mctaggart/ .

Markosian, N. (2013) ‘Time’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/ .

Maudlin, T. (2002) ‘Remarks on the Passing of Time’, Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society CII, 237-252.

Ismael, J. (forthcoming), ‘Passage, Flow, and the Logic of Temporal Perspectives’, in The Nature of Time, The Time of Nature, eds. Christophe Bouton and Philippe Hunemann (University of Chicago Press).

Reicher, M. (2012), „Nonexistent Objects”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/nonexistent-objects/.

Noiembrie 20, 2016

Today I found out I have cancer…

Filed under: dreams — tipulcuidei @ 6:35 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Today I found out I have cancer… liver cancer, to be exact. Everyone is so freaked out, my mother is crying… I’m telling them not to worry so much. I’ve had cancer before and I survived, didn’t I? and besides, even if I do die, liver cancer should finish me quickly, so I won’t be in pain for long. My struggles will be over and can now rest. Should I also tell her about it? Maybe she’ll care now…

Still, I’m a bit sorry about my job. I’ve only started working here for a couple of weeks. The people from this company went through all the trouble of hiring me and paying for my training, so it does feel like a real shame to quit now. I wonder if they are still going let me work in my condition.

Will I do chemo? Is it still worth it? I will show the world that I know how to die!

 

It was just a dream I had on the night between the 12th and 13th of August 2016. It wasn’t a bad dream. No. I was looking forward to the challenge. I felt sad and disappointed that I woke up. Weird, right?

About a week ago I had a different dream. I dreamed she was a prostitute involved in drug dealing. And I was horrified. My alarm went off at 6:30, but I stayed in bed for another half an hour, trying to convince myself it was only a dream.

 

Aprilie 27, 2016

A Bittersweet Life

Filed under: Reviews — tipulcuidei @ 9:32 pm
Tags: , ,

A Bittersweet Life is one of the most thrilling action films I have ever seen. Appeared in 2005, it is directed and written by Kim Jee-woon, and stars Lee Byung-hun, who plays the role of Sun-woo, a high ranking mobster and enforcer for a Korean crime lord. Visually speaking, the film reminds me of Oldboy, in terms of colours and lighting, even though it is a very different type of movie. Fast-paced, intense, dark and realistic, A Bittersweet Life introduces the viewers to the violent Korean underworld and its unwritten code of conduct.

Sun-woo is a ruthless gangster, feared by many due to his brutal methods of doing business. Apart for his boss, Mr. Kang, no one challenges his authority. His life takes an unexpected turn when his boss assigns him to keep an eye on his young mistress. This seemingly simple mission triggers a spiral of violence that will have irreparable consequences on everyone involved.

The action is pretty realistic (no gun fu, dodging bullets or over-the-top explosions), and keeps the audience at the edge throughout the all ride. The hand to hand combat is marvellously choreographed, and the gun fights are not boring. By this I mean that you won’t see the main character walking around and shooting people unfazed, like we see in so many movies nowadays. You actually know that things can go for the worse for the character at any point. He’s not invulnerable. And the violence in some scenes can be pretty brutal.

But A Bittersweet Life is not just a beat `em up/shoot `em up movie. Despite having a straightforward plot, the film manages to be thought provoking and quite emotional. As I see it, this film is about the tragedy of having a beautiful dream that can never become reality, because Sun-woo lives in a cynical world where the slightest gesture of kindness can lead to punishment. I think this element makes this film very relatable, even if you’re not a gangster shooting guns and all that stuff. I also like the fact that the characters` motivation is not really clear-cut, so viewers can make up their own minds about it.

A Bittersweet Life is brutal and emotional, but it can also be kind of comical at times, by the way characters interact with one another. It is a film that you can easily watch by yourself, with friends, or with your significant other.

Aprilie 26, 2016

Some women

Filed under: Gânduri — tipulcuidei @ 5:55 pm
Tags:

Some women are annoyingly beautiful, some are beautifully annoying; yet, some manage just to be annoying.

Aprilie 24, 2016

Oasis

Filed under: Reviews — tipulcuidei @ 7:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Oasis is a film released in 2002, directed by Lee Chang-dong, which tells the love story between a mentally challenged man and a woman with cerebral palsy. Now, while the premise may seem sweat and all that, the film is actually hard to watch. That is not because it is a bad film, but because Oasis portrays some really harsh elements of the reality disabled people must face every day, stuff that even I tend to not think about. Guess that’s why I found this movie unsettling, as it challenges my defence mechanisms.

Anyway, let’s talk a bit about the two main characters. Hong Jong-du (played by Sol Kyung-gu) is a 28-year-old man, who is somewhat intellectually impaired and has been in and out of prison numerous times so far due to his impulsivity and inability to follow social norms. Gong-ju (played by Moon So-ri) is a woman suffering from a severe form of cerebral palsy, which affects not only her mobility, but also her ability to communicate. Despite this, as the film progresses, it becomes obvious that she is a lot smarter than people give her credit for. Besides both being social misfits, the two also have in common the fact that they are both neglected by their families, even if their said families will not hesitate to take advantage of them.

Our two protagonists meet in a very unconventional manner (not going to spoil it for you), and their first interactions are painfully awkward, mostly because they lack the social skills to properly engage with one another. Their relationship appears to be very simple in its nature, yet very profound. The director did a very good job at portraying the struggles that couples with disabilities face in order to achieve even the smallest things normal people take for granted, like going out on date, having their relationship accepted by others, or sharing an intimate moment with the person you love. Oh yes, life can be hard…

In terms of acting, there is nothing to complain about. In my opinion, all cast members delivered terrific performances, which made their characters feel genuine. Personally, I was really impressed by actress Moon So-ri’s interpretation of Gong-ju and her ability to mimic the effects of cerebral palsy. Having cerebral palsy myself, I usually can notice when an able bodied actor fakes this condition, but I found Moon So-ri extremely convincing, similar to Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance in My Left Foot.

One thing that annoyed me a lot in this film is that, apart for the two main characters, all the other characters were major assholes, like EVERYONE: the family members, the neighbours, the cops, the damn waitress from a restaurant scene, all of them making the lives of Jong-du and Gong-ju difficult. So by the end of it, I ended up wishing the film had a mass murderer to kill them all!

Is Oasis a good movie? Yes. It is insightful, touching, well written and well executed, well deserving of all the film awards it received in South Korea. But it can be depressing as hell itself, so I don’t recommend watching it on your own if you feel a bit down. I did that and it wasn’t pleasant.

Aprilie 1, 2016

Walking on my knees

Filed under: S-ar putea să fie poezii — tipulcuidei @ 5:05 pm
Tags: ,

Walking on my knees

And standing in a chair

I want to light myself a cigarette

And burn my skin while smoking it

Yes, I want to scream

I am here

I have forgotten to die

But not the rest of it whilst

Standing in a chair

And walking on my knees.

6 octombrie 2015

Into the open

Filed under: S-ar putea să fie poezii — tipulcuidei @ 5:02 pm
Tags: ,

One day

the dead got fed up with being buried

and came up into the open

so folks could see them rot and hear them scream

of being left to die.

7 octombrie 2015

Februarie 4, 2016

Soare

Filed under: S-ar putea să fie poezii — tipulcuidei @ 5:49 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Au trecut ani și încă aștept să înțelegi

când sunt scufundat în zăpadă

doar tu mă poți încălzi

Soare cu piele, buze și ochi.

4 februarie 2016

Absent

Filed under: S-ar putea să fie poezii — tipulcuidei @ 4:13 pm
Tags: ,

Îmi lipsesc niște fâșii de piele

două mâini, două picioare

o pereche de ochi si o pereche de buze

dar cel mai mult

îmi lipsesc o pereche de versuri

trei copii plus la

o pereche de sâni într-o biserică

 

și parcă am uitat să mor

ca un vampir ce-și bea propriul sânge

și se plimbă într-un scaun cu rotile pe străzi de granit

spre un sicriu de granit soarele a uitat să îl ardă

vântul l-a înghețat mai tare

iar oamenii nici nu au inceput să se teamă.

 

el umblă prin capitale vechi europene

și visează să locuiască într-un canal new yorkez

măcar o săptămână

și speră că lumea va începe să se teamă iar soarele își va aminti să îl ardă.

 

am pielea prea inghețată ca îmi mai apară vreun rid

așa că-mi număr timpul în vizite făcute la dentist

am colții rupți și ochii arși de soare.

3 octombrie 2014

 

Pagina următoare »

Creează un sit web gratuit sau un blog la WordPress.com.