Saturday, 24 April 2010

Utopia And Dystopia

In my previous post I referred to the movie 'Idiocracy', a 2006 movie which got linked in an online discussion somewhere, possibly Slashdot, and which I watched together with Pieter a few weeks ago. We are still trying to figure out in how far this movie is or can be true, mostly with respect to the mathematics behind the theory of 'devolution' as proposed by the movie. Does the balance between the smart people (S) and dumb people (D) really remain intact? Considering that we humans have had a few thousands of years of relative civilization and there are still quite a number of smart people running around one could just say that it's the efforts of the smart people which have allowed the dumb to become more vocal, via the internet, TV and such marvels of modern technology.

Pieter proposed a linear increase in the population numbers of S and D, such that S : D = nS : nD. This of course doesn't take into account many other factors affecting population growth and the longevity of individuals. It's a logical suggestion that in the D population individuals will expire before they become capable of reproducing due to less intelligent actions or choices from them, their parents, friends or other individuals from the D population in their environment. These include abandoning a child, severe trauma from a fight, stunts with lethal consequences (re Darwin Award), drugs, and so on. As said many times, stupidity should be lethal, and apparently it kind of is. There may yet be hope for humanity.

During the past two years Pieter has made me watch a number of movies and series he liked, and vice versa. I have for example exposed Pieter to a number of more abstract Japanese anime series, such as Interlude and more recently Karas, the latter being the series I started my fansubbing career with which would eventually lead to the founding of my company, Nyanko. The fun part about these series is that they require your constant attention, refuse to give you easy hints and basically screw with your mind as much as possible. It's fun to see Pieter struggle to keep up with one of these series, though I wish he'd agree to rewatching them some time as the second time around such series are usually a lot easier to grasp.

One series Pieter exposed me to in exchange was Babylon 5, the five seasons, six movies and one (aborted) sequel we finished watching not too long ago. It's a somewhat contradicting series, in that while it was clearly made on a budget, with unknown actors and CGI scenes which looked outdated in the early 90s, the quality behind the underlying script is amazing. It's rare to encounter such a solid piece of writing in relatively mainstream (sci-fi) television. Once one gets over the bad CGI and the occasionally horrific actor, there's a very rich story, one which is unlike much I have seen.

To even further underline how brilliant Babylon 5 is one should watch the sequel afterwards, as it is more in line with what one would expect from a typical US sci-fi series, with great CGI, flat acting, a script typed up by some intern during lunch time and plot holes large enough for a small planet to pass through with room to spare. In a sense this sequel tried to do the imagining part for the viewer, whereas Babylon 5 demanded one to engage one's imagination instead of feeding everything one spoonful at a time.

The final episode of Babylon 5, which is to be watched after the sequel chronologically, actually made me feel like I had come to really know the people in the series, to care for them in some way. During the final scenes I couldn't hold back my tears, which is something quite rare for me. It was a beautiful conclusion to an amazing journey.

Similarly interesting was a series of books I have read the past few weeks. It's a trilogy called 'Finder's Stone' and a semi-sequel called 'Finder's Bane' which is in the Harpers series of the Forgotten Realms collection of books. It was a rare pleasure to read a number of books so well-written and engaging. Very inspiring.

In other news, the increasing lapses in my mental and consequently physical health are quite worrying. Yesterday I had another paralyzation episode which ended with me not being able to move just my hands for what must have been around ten minutes. It got really bloody annoying after the first few minutes. This is now basically a daily occurrence and most decidedly a psychological, stress-induced symptom. There's every indication that it will only get worse as I don't get the medical attention I need, until it can occur virtually everywhere, whether I'm walking, driving a car or bicycle, swimming or in the midst of chewing my food. To me it seems like a really sucky way to get into an accident or even end up dying.

As a final, snarky comment I could of course add that me dying would be a really big relief to all hospitals here in this country as they'd finally be rid of me, but that would just be mean, wouldn't it? I mean, it's not like it's their sworn job to help and cure people whenever possible, is it?


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