Family Ethics

Dramatic entertainment thrives on the blurred line which divides good and bad in our ethical framework. I’m in the middle of two TV show (Chuck and Prison Break), the Terrorism Expatriation Act that is in the news today, and the immigrant laws being enforced in AZ right now are all doing a pretty good job of making me think about rights and wrongs on a personal and social level.

How many people ever run into a situation where they have to choose between saving someone they love, saving themselves, or saving a multitude of people? Few are in a place to choose what happens to people suspected of willful treason who’s actions could mean the lives of fellow citizens. I don’t know anyone who can give me a straight answer on how immigration, drug trafficking, minimum wadge, and all of the other affected issues should be managed.

There is always a tic, tac, or toe involved with the morality I’m talking about. Who looses the toe; or at least get a tack in the butt? Does it matter whether what you perceive as a chop is a tic in your opponent’s win-column? How much satisfaction in a punishment is wrapped up in the perception of the punished? For instance: prison is a reliable roof and a meal with limited freedom; tax payers flip the bill because those who don’t play nice need discipline. This is a win-win to some people… they prefer crime and prison to society. I’m sure that this thought bothers people. A prescribed punishment should be unfavorable in the very least; preferably unpleasant, right?

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this… just thinking out loud, so to speak. I could easily concoct some blather about humanism and religion and compare divine mandate to natural selection or game theory. Don’t worry, I wont go there. What I would like to ponder for a bit is law; the tool put in place by those we elect to maintain civility in our social world. It’s pretty interesting and I think that the basis of it spreads wider than most people initially perceive.

Stay tuned, that will be the next post. *NM, that train of thoght is lost for the moment. 🙂

Paradigm Part 2

Since I was very young I was taught and shown entertainment that promoted ideas that there was always hope for the better. That’s the usual plot structure of stories in modern western society. There are stories that shine through the cliche and give me a taste of something more stirring. It’s a combination of the ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’, ‘let your heart/gut guide you’, and ‘standing for something greater than yourself’ ideologies. Will, honor, and selflessness are the words I would attach to each respectively.

The honest heroes you see in stories struggle to maintain these virtues through whatever conflict they’re going through. The tales you can read about in history are little different… change comes and bars are raised or toppled over by the odd ones, whether they try to fit in or not. ‘Normal’ people compare to each other and make an attempt at conforming trying in vain to reach some mutual unspoken consensus so they can all have a nonchalant explanation for “why it happens” and “how it should be” so they don’t have to worry or think about it any more.

For example, take the Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution show that’s on ABC… a Brit (probably paid well) comes over to America’s reported most unhealthy city in West Virginia to try to curb obesity and the other ailments that come from processed food and poor eating habits. Naturally, conservative area that it is, people aren’t too trusting of this foreigner coming in telling them what they are and how to change it. I’ve seen similar reactions on Super Nanny or Kitchen Nightmares, also shows with a respectable Brit in their professional field that observes occupied space then knocks over the flag pole of conventional wisdom to help these clueless saps build a fucking radio tower in it’s place.  The entertainment value is in them having to drag the dolts along by whatever method they have. I don’t envy Jamie Oliver’s job in doing that to an entire city. This guy has a clear sense of his abilities, huge gonads, and a steel spine to even attempt what he’s doing.

This whole thought process actually got kicked into motion after watching How To Train Your Dragon. It had themes to it that I’m used to seeing separate. There’s the whole odd-ball struggling with the perceived ailment of being odd eventually coming to terms when he figures out what he’s capable of, then doing his thing and basically freeing everyone from their own prejudice. Like A Bugs Life, The Matrix, or V for Vendetta if you were to watch it in chronological order. Yeah, it has all that inner struggle, peer struggle, physical struggle and a very real wonder that humans have probably had since we had the ability to realize that birds, bats, and bugs could counteract gravity.  While many humans from modern society have laughed at gravity in the last hundred years very few of them can actually FLY… and even then 99.9% of them require a collaborative industrial effort to provide the materials, assembly, and maintenance. It’s really not the same as being “free as a bird.”

How long has it been since two bicycle mechanics could have the means and materials to not just fashion an air craft… but have the time and resources to experiment for decades to figure how to invent the concepts behind it. It’s not the America of today, that’s for sure. The closest thing we see to it now is software engineers, and even that is getting further and further along from it’s origin.

And that’s why I’m reading about flight…