Dehumanizing

Yes, agreed with this.

The nudity in Game of Thrones has no raison d’être other than to perhaps attract a few more viewers, or to keep a few. It has nothing to do with the storyline at all.office_job

However, the nudity in Westworld is disconcerting, dehumanizing. Creepy. It’s about as sexual as an autopsy — which is exactly the point. It’s necessary to the story, and to the world, to demonstrate that the corporation running Westworld doesn’t see the hosts as even quasi-human and that they have no human rights to dignity and to privacy — or even to be warm.

It is (as stated in the show) that corporation’s explicit policy that hosts when not in the park must be unclothed precisely so that the workers see them as programmable meat, as pieces of machinery or furniture. As not people. Because people wear clothes. It is one of our defining features (in many senses) and raiment of various types is one of the crowning achievements of human technology.

Therefore it’s very disconcerting to see the hosts driven around by a technician with a tablet, and strolling blankly past people in regular office attire while completely nude and utterly vulnerable. This is the metaphor of what’s being inflicted on the hosts’ minds and how helpless they are to prevent it — and it’s a damn good one.

Best screen use of nudity for actual story purposes really ever I think. (And no, it’s not just women though many of the host characters are women so you will see them naked. But if you want plenty of penises on a mainstream TV show, Westworld is also for you. But warning: it’s not sexy at all in either case.)

Tractabull

Many men got and continue to get I’d assume the message quite young that it’s wrong to be attracted to express any interest in women at all. I can’t believe this is just accidental, as it seems to have happened to a lot of us. It certainly was the message I received loud and clear from feminism even in a hick town in the early 1990s. Many other men I’ve talked with about this got the same memo.

Part of this is just both higher-class women and men’s policing of the “basket of deplorables” like me to avoid undesirable attention and mainly to delineate class and other boundaries.

I won’t go into the sociology further here, but what this sort of feminist messaging means is that the boldest, rudest and most sociopathy-tending men will continue to willfully approach women aggressively with no real consequences while those with some politesse and conscientiousness will restrict themselves from doing so. (For instance, I was in my 20s before I was confident enough to ask a strange woman for her phone number without feeling like I was sexually harassing her. Think that Caleb the Fratboy Rapist feels those same pangs? If yes, please explain why.)

I support feminism fully — but too much of Amanda Marcotte style feminism exists to bolster existing structures of power and to demonize undesirable men (while giving a pass to people like Caleb), and that is what I’m reacting against.

I know it’s not deliberate but in reality men who actually respect women or at least won’t rape them the first time they have a Coors or two get the message that “Desiring a woman or even liking her is evil and bad” while Caleb is implicitly supported in his realization that whatever he does is all good because he is the right kind of guy. Sadly it appears to me that this message comes in loud and clear from mainstream feminism as much as anywhere else.

Rash In All

Rationality alone is not enough for humans. Though the universe might be predictable in some narrow sense, it is not clear that it itself is rational. Too much just is, or is not, for no clear reason.

After all, isn’t just plain nothing more economical than all this? Irrational from the start.

All You

Something that has bothered me for years in psychology and neurology are these ideas and this sort of construction and explanation of them.

Studies have shown that when people’s brains are stimulated in such a way as to trigger a physical movement, say, in the hand, the subjects report an intention to move their hand. The intention, “I want to move my hand,” which feels like the cause, is actually an effect of the beginning of the motor sequence.

Even worse is the one that goes “the signals that triggered a finger movement began a full half-second before any decision about movement” and that sort of thing — thus in the minds of the researchers disproving free will.

I’m not here to argue about free will and I’m trying to keep opaque philosophy terms out of this discussion, but here’s what’s wrong with all of this: it’s all you.

People think of the brain/mind/body in Cartesian dualist frames (oops, here come some of those terms, and yes I know that is a trinary) reflexively even when they think they have rejected it. There is no homunculus, no little being sitting in the cockpit somewhere in your pate just behind your dura mater issuing commands.

In reality, the brain is a motley collection of competing and cooperating systems that don’t have full monitoring capabilities of other system’s states. When someone stimulates part of your brain to move your hand, and nothing else seems to be wrong, the rest of your brain is like, “Huh, guess I meant to do that. I [meaning that motley collection of oddball systems] wanted to do that.”

Can you think of any evolutionary reason your brain would say, “That ain’t me moving my hand! Must be some researcher stimulating it with an electrode!” Seen many neurologists with electrodes on the African savanna a million year ago? No? I thought not.

The point I’m making is that your brain’s systems can’t really be decoupled. When you move a finger, it’s all you, even the nerve impulse that started half a second before you “decided” to move. (How can this research be this moronic?)

It’s all you, baby. It’s all you.

Not a better world

In some ways it would’ve been a better world for me, though I don’t yearn for its return.

Here I am referring to the days of “computer girls” calculating and working out equations while others — usually men — played with the ideas and discoveries*. I will never have any ability in math and I don’t seem to be trainable in that area, but I’m a dab hand at connecting disparate arenas of science and thought, and understanding complex systems quickly.

In those ways, I’m more well-suited to the worlds of the 1930s and the 1940s than I am the contemporary milieu where getting into science basically means taking a math-focused IQ test regardless of your other talents or abilities.

Then, I could’ve contributed something. Possibly a lot. Now, I’d be written off because I’m not interested in becoming a full-time mathematician with a small side of science. Not only am I not suited to it, I am extremely, agonizingly bored by pretty much all math.

*I know that many discoveries were probably actually made by these “computer girls” because sometimes the only way to discover is by doing, but this is mostly lost to history.