Saturday, April 20, 2013

Nexus causality

According to John Tooby,  Professor of Anthropology, UC Santa Barbara:

Causality itself is an evolved conceptual tool that simplifies, schematizes, and focuses our representation of situations.

Nexus causality on the other hand is a different tool.

InWar and Peace, Tolstoy asks: 
'When an apple ripens and falls, why does it fall? Because of its attraction to the earth, because its stem withers, because it is dried by the sun, because it grows heavier, because the wind shakes it….?'

Nexus causality is what Police and FBI will be using in the analysis of Boston marathon bombings:

“For how long the suspects have been planning the bombings? How did they build the bombs? From whom, where and how did they get logistic support? Etc.”

But the analysis will stop, when bigger questions are asked:

“Is there a link between this event and US foreign policy in the Middle East and why?”

“Should US administration continue to support religious fundamentalists in the Middle East, especially in Syria and why?”

As simply stated by Tooby:

“Our minds evolved to represent situations in a way that highlighted the element in the nexus that we could manipulate to bring about a favoured outcome.”


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Too bleak?

Recently I watched a movie called 'Biutiful' directed by Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, the protagonist played by Javier Bardem.

Most critics found the film too bleak. It was indeed. You need stomach to watch it in its entirety. I couldn't, as the movie reached its climax towards the finale, I threw the towel, and had to escape to my room, my wife whereas, was braver, she finished it.

But I still score the film 9 out of 10, simply because performances of actors were brilliant and too real, the story, despite being too bleak, taught me something valuable, I realized and absorbed something that I could learn or experience in no other way.

I was however shocked when I heard that two film critics whom I admire, Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton gave low scores to the film, mostly on the basis of it being too real.

I too like what Tarantino qualifies as 'movie movies', ie. movies that entertain via fantasy, or via glossed reality. But I also like when reality strikes, when I capture something essential, something I missed out until then. I think crying and getting emotional for those bleak stories is ok, they are as real as they get, and the experience becomes an honest contract between the audience and the film maker. No packaging, as if you buy a completely transparent telephone with messed up ingredients, ready for you to face reality, understand and consume.