philosophy

Review of ‘Box Office Philosophy’

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Most people watch movies or TV shows merely for the entertainment, but editors, Robert Woolston and Tom Bowers have dissected top-rated movies and TV series for their philosophical content. In Box Office Philosophy they look at the underlying philosophical concepts of several well-known and popular movies and TV shows, such as The Godfather and Seinfeld, showing how the authors or directors incorporated the philosophical tenets of such greats as Ayn Rand and many of the Greek philosophers.

You don’t have to be an intellectual to enjoy, or learn, from this book. Not only does it help you better understand such concepts as stoicism or consequentialism, but it will give you a better appreciation of the movie or show. How, for instance, does The Shawshank Redemption illustrate ancient stoicism, or Pulp Fiction showcase Aristotelian ethics? The editors do not go into whether or not the intent of any of these shows was to highlight philosophical principles, but just knowing that they were more than mindless entertainment is uplifting.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book, and I strongly recommend it.

The Sad Passing of Common Sense

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An Obituary printed in the London Times…..Absolutely Dead Brilliant!!

 

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

 

– Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
– Why the early bird gets the worm;
– Life isn’t always fair;
– And maybe it was my fault.

 

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

 

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. 

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

 

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

 

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

 

Common Sense was preceded in death,
-by his parents, Truth and Trust,
-by his wife, Discretion,
-by his daughter, Responsibility,
-and by his son, Reason.

 

He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
– I Know My Rights
– I Want It Now
– Someone Else Is To Blame
– I’m A Victim
– Pay me for Doing Nothing

 

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

 

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

 

Why I Think I Believe in Miracles

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I’m not an especially religious person.  I was asked to leave my mother’s church when I was 12 or 13 because of my infuriating tendency – – in the eyes of the southern Baptists in my home town – – to question everything.  After deciding at that tender age that the Baptist faith was too confining and narrow minded, I tried a lot of religions and cults, even flirted with the idea of atheism, decided I was really agnostic (read undecided) and that Buddhism was the philosophy of life most closely attuned to my personality.

I’ve never questioned the possible existence of a supreme being or some higher consciousness in the universe, I’m must not sure of its nature.  When I was in Vietnam in 1968, though, I witnessed a situation that leaves a lot of unanswered questions, but also confirmed my middle of the road philosophy.

I was in an outfit that did behind the lines recon missions; a highly dangerous undertaking as the enemy knows you’re out there snooping around, and doesn’t much like it.  One of our teams, while on a mission, was attacked and one of the members got separated from all the others.  Poor guy wandered around the jungle for four days, occasionally encountering VC or NVA soldiers, including one incident when he and an NVA guy were on opposite banks of a stream getting water.  Funny thing is, being out there all alone, wandering around like a lost sheep, he was never shot at.  The guy at the stream just stared at him for a few minutes, nodded, got up and walked away.

We finally stumbled across him with a search team; or maybe he stumbled into them.  Weary, hungry, and befuddled, he was otherwise unharmed.  The whole thing, though, set me to thinking.  I still wasn’t sure about the whole God thing, but the fact that this guy, with his dark skin, round eyes, and tightly curly hair had survived that long in enemy territory when the bad guys had a bounty on the heads of each of our recon guys, made me think that there was such a thing as miracles.  Who or what generated them, I wasn’t sure, and it didn’t really matter.  What it did for me was to peel away any cynicism I’d been coated in, and leave me open to the possibility of good things happening even when conventional wisdom says you’re screwed.