false sense of freedom

POWER | GREED | BASIC NEEDS - Anakin Skywalker’s viewpoint.

Something’s happening. I’m not the Jedi I should be. I want more. And I know I shouldn’t.” — Anakin Skywalker.

You know as much as I loathe Palpatine; I always admired his deviousness. The Jedi took in this poor slave kid and forced their rules on him (for all the good that brought them) and as Jedi; Anakin wasn’t supposed to have anything, let alone “want” something.

“WAIT!! Padmé offered him to go with her in RotS!” Yes, and she was reaching out to him, however, Obi-Wan chose that wrong time to show up, so scratch that.

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I think Supernatural is telling two separate yet related stories in s12, and there’s a tendency to mix the themes up. Let me explain.

The two obvious surface level stories are the British Men of Letters story and the Nephilim story. I can see that both of these stories have been getting closer and closer to crashing into one another, and they’ve been interwoven a bit here and there, but that’s only on the surface level.

Mr. Ketch brought them the tools they needed in 12.08 to defeat Lucifer, and then he and Mick helped after Sam and Dean escaped from prison. Ketch was involved in setting Mary on the hunt for Ramiel and the Colt in 12.12, and Mick brought them the news-that-wasn’t-really-news of the nephilim’s impending birth in 12.17 and then joined them on their hunt for Kelly and Dagon. But that’s as much as these two stories have overlapped in the surface text.

In the underlying themes, however, they’ve still managed to remain completely distinct, at least as far as I’m reading into them.

The MoL storyline has been primarily about good vs evil. About what makes someone or something A Monster, or just monstrous. It’s about seeing things in shades of grey instead of in black and white. This is the storyline about the balance that Dean came to understand runs the universe of a fundamental level after reuniting God and the Darkness in 11.23, after struggling within himself to reconcile his “good” parts with his “darkness” since he’d taken on the Mark of Cain.

But the nephilim storyline has NOTHING whatsoever to do with good or evil. It has to do with free will vs destiny. I’ve seen so many debates over whether the baby is “good or evil,” and I don’t think it’s EITHER. But on Supernatural, when anyone is show a “vision of the future,” my brain slams on the brakes because no. Absolutely not. Nuh-uh.

I have some very serious questions for anyone claiming to know the future, because that makes it sound dangerously close to all that destiny and fate bullshit that we defeated back in s5. Remember s5? When Dean got a look at a possible vision of the future and then did everything in his power to render it obsolete? Remember 5.22?

Chuck: So, what’s it all add up to? It’s hard to say. But me, I’d say this was a test… for Sam and Dean. And I think they did all right. Up against good, evil, angels, devils, destiny, and God himself, they made their own choice. They chose family. And, well… isn’t that kinda the whole point?

YES ISN’T THAT KINDA THE WHOLE POINT? Of like, this entire freaking show? That FREE WILL and that ability to MAKE THAT CHOICE?

Because sometimes it’s not clear what the right choices are, and sometimes we make the wrong choices, but they’re still OUR CHOICES TO MAKE:

Castiel: And of course, I remember the most remarkable event. Remarkable because it never came to pass. It was averted by two boys, an old drunk, and a fallen angel. The grand story, and we ripped up the ending, and the rules, and destiny, leaving nothing but freedom and choice. Which is all well and good, except… but what if I’ve made the wrong choice?

But you know, even when we make the wrong choices, we still get to try again, to maybe do better next time. But right now? Cas doesn’t HAVE a choice. The nephilim is choosing FOR him.

And to me, and to Dean, there’s NOTHING WORSE having having no choice.

I’ve always said the worst thing anyone can say on this show is, “I had no other choice.”

Well, right now, that’s exactly the position Cas is in. The thing that makes humans fundamentally special, our Free Will, is what the nephilim seems to be threatening here. And on Supernatural, we know that every time, Dean will choose freedom over peace.

Cas may have a certain false sense of peace based on that vision of the future the nephilim showed him, but that’s all it is. He wished for faith, and he was slammed with it. But if given the choice, Cas wouldn’t have given over his free will, and Sam and Dean aren’t gonna let that stand. They can’t. Because they’re Team Free Will.

I couldn’t tell you why
I was always in such a hurry
to grow up.
I moved from a city
that shackled me
to a false sense of freedom,
and kept me ignorant
to all the ways in which
one can only be free
when they are young.
I should’ve known better;
all grown-ups are pirates.
Small-hearted thieves
with their dejected ships
anchored in mortality.
I have always been a lost boy:
crowing at the sun,
barking at the moon.
I never wanted hooks for hands,
or a ticking time bomb in my chest;
never wanted to trade autonomy
for blood and diamonds.
Forget the sword fights
and buried treasure.
I want to feel infinite
in spite of feeling small.
I’m not afraid to die,
I’m just learning to slow down.
—  To Live Would Be An Awfully Big Adventure

anonymous asked: 6 with mark twain?


6. fireflies trapped in jars in summer - then released

from this post

thoughts: why do i always make mark’s drabbles angsty i swear

His fingers ghost over cool skin as you reach towards the desk at the corner of the treehouse. The summer air is heavy with a false sense of freedom and a cloying call for adventure - one he extended to you years before, with a crooked grin and a tilt of his head that promised nothing but inexplicable trouble - and the crickets are chirping in a furious attempt to drown it out.

If you listen closely, you can hear the raucous laughter, and so can he, for when your fingers brush in a mistake that isn’t, not really, he pulls back and a frown mars his perfect features.

“We need to head back.”

There is a sort of regret in his words, one you feel as well, and you nod. As you stand, your bare feet skim over the dusty floor and he almost speaks, almost voices concern, almost pays you a little more attention than he ever has in the past two years.

How different things would have been, you realize, if you had taken the chance, if you had followed the beating of your heart, if you had allowed him to steal you away on that journey.

You would not be here, trapped in a single moment of wistfulness for things that could - should - have been.

But you turn away.

Under that heavy stare, you tell yourself that you are content.

The allegory of The Skinner Box: The illusion of freedom (through choice) in videogames

Thought I’d post one of my media blogs, since I haven’t done any of my weird philosorant posts pretty much since the beginning of my Tumblr days. It’s a bit dense, but hopefully thought-provoking. Also, BioShock spoilers, but GOPLAYITNOWWHATAREYOUDOING?!?!

“The digital realm is biased toward choice, because everything must be expressed in the terms of a discrete, yes-or-no, symbolic language. This, in turn, often forces choices on humans operating within the digital sphere. We must come to recognize the increased number of choices in our lives as largely a side effect of the digital; we always have the choice of making no choice at all.” (Douglas Rushkoff, 2011. ‘III. Choice: You May Always Choose None of the Above’ in Program or Be Programmed, p.49)

The theme of choices is heavily featured in the (now) classic game BioShock (Irrational Games, 2007), known for the iconic catchphrase: “A man chooses; a slave obeys.” Set in 1960, in an underwater city named ‘Rapture’, the game is a first-person shooter, simulating Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957) in a state of ruin.

The famed “BioShock moment” revelation refers to the scene where you/the protagonist, Jack, discover you are a clone of your nemesis Andrew Ryan. In a series of flashbacks, you a revealed that the trigger “Would you kindly” forced the player to perform acts throughout the game.

As Claus Pias notes “Computer games are dependent on that kind of tyche; the game is a series of events that occur through coincidence but that in retrospect can be seen as nothing other than necessary.” (Claus Pias, 2011. ‘The game player’s duty: The user as the gestalt of the ports’ in Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications, p.169) Videogames are dependent on rules. No matter how expansive the ‘sandbox’ of a game is, it is still reliant on laws of the game world – programmed essentially as 1’s and 0’s/yes and no’s.

“A game is a machine that can get into action only if the players consent to become puppets for a time.” (Marshall McLuhan, 1964. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, p.238)

The BioShock revelation is a landmark for the medium because it is self-reflective of it’s nature as a videogame. Videogames depend on coercing the player into a false sense of freedom and autonomy. This is done by constantly being given “choices”. Though, as Rushkoff reminds us, a “forced choice is no choice at all” (p. 52). BioShock’s major “choice”, as given to the player, is to choose between saving ‘little sisters’ or harvesting them. It reduces a moral choice to ‘good’ and ‘evil’, or ‘good ending’ and ‘bad ending’, or even ‘win’ and ‘lose’. But the BioShock moral choice cannot be a genuine hypothetical moral conundrum, since videogames are too pragmatically motivated.

Claus Pias argues, in videogames, “We are not in the realms of conscience and morality but in the area of duty and law” (‘The game player’s duty’, p.180). Pias regards a gamers’ actions as ‘duty’ based - in the Kantian sense. Kant’s Categorical Imperative is not about choice. In short, we must act on duties for the sake that they are duties.

“Playing videogames, like working with computers, we learn to adapt ourselves to fixed systems of control. *All the adapting is ours*.” (Charles Bernsein, 1991. ‘Play It Again, Pac-Man’ in A Poetics, as referenced by Robert Jackson, 2014. BioShock: Decision, Forced Choice and Propaganda, p.367)

We program the videogame; we are programmed by the videogame. We jump to the timeliness and punctuality of hitting the ball in Pong; we are regulated by the game to declare “I am here!”

We can see these effects replicated in our society, in the capitalist structure and gamification. I used to work at EB Games, and it was fascinating to see gamification in action first-hand. We were driven to meet objectives by having our KPI’s (Key Performance Indication) constantly reviewed. We were ranked individually and by store, and regionally as the store within the company. It created a competitive environment, where we were pegged against each other to sell more products, extended guarantees and pre-orders – for the sake of your KPI rank. And, of course, we did it by the illusion of our own “choice”. As Wendy Hui Kyong Chun discusses “The liberal market… both produces freedom and seeks to control it.” (2011, ‘Excerpts’ from Programmed Visions: Software and Memory, p.7)

Thoughts? I don’t think it’s a bad thing that videogames are essentially/reductively a Skinner Box. I think - perhaps - “life” is too. I also think that determinism doesn’t necessitate that we aren’t autonomous beings. But, then again, I am an existentialistttttttt.

We know who the killers are,
We have watched them strut before us
As proud as sick Mussolinis’,
We have watched them strut before us
Compassionless and arrogant,
They paraded before us,
Like angels of death
Protected by the law.

It is now an open secret
Black people do not have
Chips on their shoulders,
They just have injustice on their backs
And justice on their minds,
And now we know that the road to liberty
Is as long as the road from slavery.

The death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us to love each other
And never to take the tedious task
Of waiting for a bus for granted.
Watching his parents watching the cover-up
Begs the question
What are the trading standards here?
Why are we paying for a police force
That will not work for us?
The death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us
That we cannot let the illusion of freedom
Endow us with a false sense of security as we walk the streets,
The whole world can now watch
The academics and the super cops
Struggling to define institutionalised racism
As we continue to die in custody
As we continue emptying our pockets on the pavements,
And we continue to ask ourselves
Why is it so official
That black people are so often killed
Without killers?
We are not talking about war or revenge
We are not talking about hypothetics or possibilities,
We are talking about where we are now
We are talking about how we live now
In dis state
Under dis flag, (God Save the Queen),
And God save all those black children who want to grow up
And God save all the brothers and sisters
Who like raving,
Because the death of Stephen Lawrence
Has taught us that racism is easy when
You have friends in high places.
And friends in high places
Have no use whatsoever
When they are not your friends.
Dear Mr Condon,
Pop out of Teletubby land,
And visit reality,
Come to an honest place
And get some advice from your neighbours,
Be enlightened by our community,
Neglect your well-paid ignorance
Because
We know who the killers are.

— 

What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us - Benjamin Zephaniah