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[ red_a02 ] Shuzhen – The first episode was a lot of fun, cos it had an interesting cocktail of sexual tension and smooth fight choreography. This episode is like the awkward aftermath...
27 Aquarius 13 18:13
[ vermilion_2 ] YAPX – I understand that most of your stories are dialogue-based and heavy on retorts and counter-retorts. This one felt unnecessarily circular. It starts with a cool premise: a killer/villain/vigilante uses Lent to swear off something that should be second nature to him (I suppose), and then talks about a story. The link between the two (giving up killing & the story) isn’t a 100% fit. Maybe instead of “let me tell you a story”, it could be “hey, you see I even passed a guy up for death today!” or equivalent. Something to drag Lorelei into the banter and the premise. // That’s my only complaint. I’m not a big fan of dialogue-based stories, but I can make a exception for this.
14 Aquarius 13 08:03
[ 130204 ] YAPX – Good pace, good characters, great dialogue. The thing I like best is a combination of the three: how you build up their pseudo-relationship through all that back-and-forth exchange. Somehow, you craft a unique, strange relationship: from any one point in the story, both of them are manipulative, victimised and hypocrites - though not all at once. // On word choices, I felt you could change the word “janitor” (“cleaner” or “uncle” would’ve given a different, but more acute local flavour to it). Mostly because, it’s connotes an added level of difference through: class. Whether or not you intended it, by portraying the “janitor” and “student” you bring out the fact that he’s stuck there socially in all sense of the word. It made the part where he says he reads books during weekends completely out-of-context and weird. // Also, there’s too much “sliding” in and out of the room. Not sure if that’s intentional repetition, or just a lack of other words. // I thought that the girl’s own background is pretty compelling. Even after everything, I can’t tell if she’s speaking the truth. Because I’m all for unreliable narrators and characters, I can still find her well-thought out. But other readers might lose patience or wonder at her sudden change of heart at the final moment.
04 Aquarius 13 08:48
Some thoughts on thinking.
Leaving the station of an off-hand tweet, my train of thought reached this conclusion; Aladdin follows the Original Sin plotline. In which –
A man is transported by a supernatural power into paradise and given a beautiful wife. Wife is tricked by a supernatural power because of her naivety; and causes man to lose paradise. In Genesis, they are punished; in Aladdin, they live happily ever after.
And the moral is the same – women are stupid and should shut the fuck up.
This caused me some dissonance, because Aladdin is an Arabian Night and the Arabian Nights are anything but misorgynistic. The frame story, after all, is about how a woman outsmarts a king – practically the reverse of the Taliban moral of Aladdin.
It turns out that Aladdin is an add-on, added in by a French translator who had heard the story.
This is a very worthless thing to know. Nonetheless, it made me realise that dissonance – the idea that A and B, both known to be true, cannot both be true – can lead to interesting places.
“Cognitive dissonance” is a term used to describe the existential crises caused by dissonance between one’s expectations and reality – a lot of our irrational behaviour can be explained by a need to reduce cognitive dissonance.
Chasing, for example, is irrational, self-destructive behaviour caused by a need to believe that our initial choice is not a bad one.
Sour Grapes is an irrational conclusion caused by a need to reduce the value of what we want but cannot have.
This is not about cognitive dissonance.
This is the journey of how I still think I am a good person even though I now believe that murder is okay.
Rationalisation, of course, is a very popular way of lying to ourselves.
We get a lot of dissonance; a lot of morality is based on the resolution of dissonance.
Life is sacred, ergo – The death penalty is wrong. Abortion is wrong. Stem cell research is wrong.
The last two requires another leg – that life begins at conception – and the dissonance is resolved if you do not believe that. Or if, even if you do believe that, you can come up with a framework of exceptions and priorities.
I’m in full support of the death penalty, abortion and stem cell research. The first I resolved via eye for an eye. The second by not believing that a fetus is human. For the longest time, I didn’t consider babies and children human either (but recent research has changed my view on this).
I feel quite strongly about abortion – I think that it is the moral thing to do. You get pregnant, your first choice should be to abort. A child should be wanted, when its parents are in a place in life ready and prepared and wanting children. Because this is best for the children.
I know that I feel strongly about this because I’ve argued strongly about this. I know that I feel strongly about this because, even though I have written this down before, I want to write more than this one paragaph listing the litany of reasons why it is important to give a child the best possible start in life and why bringing a Down’s Syndrome baby into the world is an act of unspeakable selfishness that can only be done in the service of a hateful God that delights in cruelty and inevitable tragedy.
So, I did not believe that a fetus is human until two-three years ago, when, in a single line, Peggy Noonan changed my mind about the exact moment a human life starts. That line was something like this, “There’s a reason they call it birth control.” She goes on to explain, “Something begins at that moment. What do you think it is? A ’79 Buick?”
I’ve heard similar arguments before – “If it’s not a baby, you’re not pregnant.” (If it is a baby, it can survive once you take it out) – but Noonan’s argument changed my world.
I simply couldn’t reply to that, which means I had to accept her argument or accept the dissonance that came from having conflicting beliefs.
I accepted her argument and now believe that human life is not all that sacred.
It’s something I came to because I believe that any action has to not increase the sum bad in the world. Murder is still a sin, but, sometimes, the greater sin would be to not take a life. Killing murderers and rapists = sum good. Abortion = sum good. Stem cell research = sum good.
Years ago, I told a friend about my epiphany and she told me that it was semantics.
But semantics, words and their meanings, are important. They are important because how we name things affect how we think about them.
“Terminating a pregnancy” and “Killing a fetus” are semantically equal – they mean exactly the same thing – but no human being can think about “killing a fetus” for very long and still find it acceptable. This is why a girl dates “John” but breaks up with “that man“. This is why people who say “those people“ alot are obnoxious twats.
Words are important because any moral that cannot be put into words and defended is not a moral at all. It is just a feeling.
Imagine a world where a prophet said, thousands of years ago, that it is right to like blue. It is moral to like blue. Clothes should be blue, etc.
It is hard to imagine because it doesn’t make sense.
And yet, “like blue” is substituded for any number of “moral” things. It is moral to have slaves, it is immoral to be gay, women are property, etc. Simply because a prophet said God said so.
That’s… just a feeling. We don’t need a reason to like the things we like. I like blue. I don’t have to justify it.
And that’s what seperates feelings from morals. The ability to justify them, not only to convince someone else, but to resolve the dissonance in your own head.
A lot of people follow morals like feelings, just because. I like it that way.
This is not only amoral, it a disguise for evil. A lot of people bring sum unhappiness into the world because their morals are feelings (usually someone else’s).
The difference is important because we have a moral obligation to spread our morals, but a moral obligation not to impose our feelings.
If I find out that my friend thinks date rape is okay, I have to try and convince him that it is not (and be careful not to drink anything which he offers). If I find out that my friend thinks purple is more awesome than blue, I can just shake my head at his questionable taste.
I think, a lot of the time, we dismiss the dissonance in our lives. It just is, we think. I’m not a hypocrite because I don’t feel like one.
The thing is, things aren’t true just because we feel that they are.
1161 words / 1248
“You can’t conceive, nor can I, the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”
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