Xah Lee's Blog Archive 2007-09
Wikipedia has this passage about the movie Freaks (1932):
Director Browning had been a member of a traveling circus in his early years, and much of the film was drawn from his personal experiences. He intended to portray the classic moral of how outer beauty does not necessarily equate to inner beauty. In the film, the physically deformed “freaks” are inherently trusting and honorable people, while the real monsters are two of the “normal” members of the circus who conspire to murder one of the performers to obtain his large inheritance.
It is a common moral, in the analysis of the good and bad people, by judging their behaviors. However, a characterization by deeds is misleading, in the context of morality as a principle or dogma to better human animal society. Let's take the Wikipedia excerpt on Freaks the movie for example.
In the movie, these freaks, are good people, while 2 beautiful characters in the movie are bad. That is true, however, we have to ask, if these freaks were born with normal body, would they still be good? Alternatively, if these freaks were to aspire greater success of power, fame, wealth, would they have a better chance when resorting to evil means, than the normal bodied people?
Each human animal, are born to propergate self-interests. Each of us, behaves in ways the best we can, to optimize that goal, from survival, to procreation (i.e. have children), to achieve success (e.g. power, fame, wealth; all of which increases the odds for survival and procreation.) Each human animal, were born differently (genes) and grew up and live in different environment, and thus have formed a bewildering array of charaters (from anything-goes prostitutes, to survival thiefs, to hermit scientists, to gregarious businessmen, to deceiving priests, to power-hungry presidents, to any character you can find in the world). Considered as a whole, a person's character is in part the culminating effects in persuing the best strategy for self-interest. For example, you can't ask a businessman to become scientist: he has no such brain and couldn't possibly see what's the interest, however hard he tried. You couldn't ask a hermit scientist to be interested in making great money. To him, making money is boring as hell, and he does ineed too lack the skills for it. In short, you couldn't ask a person to change himself to act, think, behave, like another person. Our genes and environment (e.g. location, culture, the times, education, upbrining) have in large part made what we are.
So, when moralizing the good and evil, it is misleading to only look at the deeds only. Instead, we have also to consider the person's blood (gene) and environment. Because, if we only look at the deeds, the moralization would have little effect because who's a thief and who's a saint are largely pre-determined by our blood and the circumstances. So, for example, back to the Freaks film. Those freaks are “good” in large part because being “good” (e.g. honest, simple-minded) is their optimal stradtegy in life, because their physical disabilities and disfiguration largely robbed their chances of success at scheming. While, normal physical people, especially if naturally endowed with higher IQ and charisma, have good opportunities by means of scheming (e.g. priests). If these people, happened to be with a bunch of physical idiots and incompetents who happens to have money, then their chances of success in scheming for furthering their own lives, is increased.
So, if we want to moralize (presuming here that moralization as way to encourage human animals to behave in a way that is beneficial to the whole human animal group), then, to praise the “inner beauty” of those freaks in the film and the “evilness” of beautiful-looking people, is not very illuminating, because people will largely become good or bad in the same circumstances. (if you are a freak in the film, you will do good to. If you are a beauty in that film, you are likely to scheme too.) Instead, if we want to moralize, then we have to emphasize the circumstances and opportunities for each behavior class, and understand that self-interest in some general sense is the ultimate drive for all human animal's behavior.
This Is A Man's World (lyrics appreciation).
Noticed that my account at http://node60091.multiply.com/ has been deleted. At least, my login name and password won't let me login. I contacted them thru their site's contact form today, hoping to get some clue. I have no clue why they deleted my account. Often, i have controversial opinions, and am often prepared of being banned or axed. However, checking what i've posted to multiply recently (which is mirrored on livejournal.com), i don't see anything standing out.
Here's a file of google search on “xah site:multiply.com” as of , as a minimal proof/relic that my account did exist. google_search_xah_multiply_com.html.zip
Multiply (website) is a general blog site, for text, photo, video as well. I started using multiply since 2004-08, so have about 3 years worth. I've always prepared to be censored or deleted, knowing my controversial opinions. So, i never relied on blog services to host my content. I have all my original posts on my website xahlee.org.
While annotating David Bowie's song lyrics Life on Mars, i read Wikipedia on John Lennon (1940 – 1980), i learned that in his time he had a decade-long, widely publicized, major conflict with the US government regarding his deportation as means to silence his anti-war activities in US, and that he is murdered. Here's some selected quotes from Wikipedia:
In 1976, Lennon's U.S. immigration status was finally resolved favourably, after a years-long battle with the Nixon administration that included an FBI investigation — a full-scale effort involving surveillance, wiretaps, and agents following Lennon around as he travelled. Lennon insisted that the investigation was politically motivated, a claim that was later proven true.
Nixon left the White House after the Watergate scandal, and Lennon won his green card in 1975. After Lennon’s murder, historian Jon Wiener filed a Freedom of Information request for FBI files on Lennon. The FBI admitted it had 281 pages of files on Lennon, but refused to release most of them, claiming they were national security documents. In 1983, Wiener sued the FBI with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. The case went to the Supreme Court before the FBI settled in 1997 — releasing all but ten of the contested documents. The story is told in the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon, by David Leaf and John Scheinfeld, released in theatres in September 2006 and on DVD in February 2007. The final ten documents in Lennon's FBI file were finally released in December 2006. and are available on the web.
Lennon is a true folk hero of humanity.
Nude photo of Michelle Manhart added to the page Nakedness — a WASP Crime. Also added on that page is a comics.
Added a photo to Photo: Cherry, Venus Flytrap, and the Lure of Sex.
Reread the Time Machine by H G Wells, and added more annotations.
天使之戀 (Angle's Love) (Lyrics appreciation)
Added wikipedia links: Xah's Favorite Movies.
Review: 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake .
A Moralist syndrome: Tawana Brawley rape case.
Typically, the USA American public feel a urge to help some alleged victim, especially if it is a female and about rape, and often blow the case out of proportion. The result is that, some smart females, take advantage of it, intentionally or innocently.
Quote from wikip:
Brawley and her mother were issued subpoenas to testify in front of the grand jury but refused to do so. This may have prompted Brawley and her family to move hastily to Virginia, taking with them a “defense fund” of $300,000 which had been contributed by well-wishers. There remains an outstanding warrant in New York against the two for ignoring the subpoena.
Brawley later converted to Islam and changed her name to Maryam Muhammad.
A more recent similar case: 2006 Duke University lacrosse case. Quote:
The 2006 Duke University lacrosse case was a scandal that started in March 2006 when Crystal Gail Mangum, a black stripper and escort, falsely accused three white members of Duke University's men's lacrosse team — Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, and David Evans — of raping her at a party held at the house of two of the team's captains in Durham, North Carolina, USA on March 13, 2006.
See also: FEELINGS OF INFERIORITY from “Industrial Society and its Future”.
Revisit: Wandering Stars by Beth Gibbons. (Lyrics Appreciation)
The Power of Love (lyrics appreciation)
Today i discovered: http://www.wikiporno.org/wiki/Free_Porn_Directory.
As of 2006, neither Google nor Microsoft would reveal how many books they have already scanned. Google did say that it is scanning more than 3,000 books per day, a rate that translates into more than 1 million annually. The entire project may exceed $US 100 million dollars.. As of March 2007, the New York Times reported that Google has already digitized one million volumes at an estimated cost of US$5 million.