Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog #62 - Reactions to Henry Poole is Here

Pick one of the following topics and write about it based on your own personal experience 

1. You can’t go to the past to fix the present.” - Esperanza said when Henry visited his parents' house. Agree or disagree? Why?

2. Noam Chomsky said: "As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss" 1.

Patience quotes him in the movie, and then follows it up with these lines: "It means that not everything needs an explanation. Sometimes, things happen b/c we choose for them to happen. I chose to believe."

Is she saying that because she believed the miracle on Henry's wall to be true, then that made it true? Or is she saying something else? If you could choose for one thing to come true / exist, what would that be and why?
3. During the dinner date, Dawn said to Henry as he tried backing away from getting closer to her was: "I know you're gonna die. But all that either of us have is right now, and we should pay attention to that." We talked today about how Henry might be feeling selfish and keeping people out w/ the way he's acting. But when he said, "I am paying attention." And that's why he can't do this (meaning fall for Dawn, go where the date will eventually lead ). Did Henry stop being selfish there for a moment? Or did he revert back to himself again? Why?

4. I get the feeling that Henry senses that there are greater forces at work, somehow helping him, coming to heal him, yet he feels unworthy of this sense of grace. Why he feels unworthy, I don't know. Maybe it's not unworthy, maybe it's pride or stubbornness in his own beliefs that life has just dealt him an awful hand. Maybe he has accepted this fate, for lack of a better word, and decided to deal with it in his own way despite a higher power demanding an audience. What do you think of this idea?

5. There's got to be a reason why Patience is named Patience. What about the name Esperanza? It's Spanish for Hope. what made me think about Hope (besides the Obama-themed poster of Henry) was when he was about to destroy the wall and he yelled, "Hope can't save you!" And the last of the virtues would be Love symbolized by Dawn and Faith by Millie (who was the first one to test the validity of the wall).

Henry, on the other hand, would symbolize the seven deadly sins - sloth, gluttony, lust, greed, anger, envy and pride. A stretch? Maybe. How would he symbolize the seven?

6. Do you think Henry symbolizes Descartes' skepticism of one's senses?  Or does Henry go beyond that to a total skepticism of everything: religion, senses, peoples' good intentions, etc. until he finally discovers that he's not going to die?  Why?

7. "Everything happens for a reason."  When Esperanza talks to Henry about her old boyfriend, Leo, and how that she prayed to God to give her a sign that Leo was o.k., how does the sign on Henry's wall signify an answer to her prayers?  

Due Thursday, April 25 by class.  (200 words minimum).

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Blog #61 - Fate and Free Will in the Matrix

After watching The Matrix this semester for what seems the umpteenth time, I was searching for something new to talk about.  This time, as with all good art, we can gather something new from it upon repeat viewings.

My question is: where do you see fate and / or free will in the movie?

Neo seems to disagree with the concept of fate (or the more technical term, determinism) "I don't like to think that I'm not in control of my life."  In fact, he seems to use free will by choosing the blue pill over the red pill when Morpheus gives him the options.

There are other scenes where Morpheus seems to give Neo choices - "I'm just trying to show you the door.  You're the one who has to walk through it" -  right before they go to visit the Oracle.  Morpheus also seems to make the choice to sacrifice himself when the agents attack the group in order to capture Neo.  Also, Neo appears to make the choice to go back into the Matrix to save Morpheus.  Even the Oracle tells Neo, "you don't believe in all that fate crap.  You're in control of your own life."

But, I think that all of these "choices" are fated to happen because of a number of factors, many of which can be traced back to the Oracle's prophecies:
1. Morpheus believes so strongly in the prophecy that he would be the person to find The One that he sacrificed himself to the agents.  "I did what I did because I had to.  I did what I did because I believe that search is over."
2. Neo would have chosen the red pill because of his natural curiosity, his inner determinism, that drove him to find the answers to the questions burrowing in his brain;

3. Trinity, Apoc, Tank and the others of the Nebuchadezzar follow Morpheus wherever he believes they need to go, even if it means their deaths.
4. The Matrix is, in fact, slavery - a contentment program for those who power the machines.  There are no choices to be made b/c the people that live in reality carefully choose those who seem to be discontent with their lives.

Cypher is the only character who has made a choice of free will when he decides to betray Morpheus and Neo.  He has lived in the "real world" for nine years and chooses to go back into the Matrix (though Agent Smith would most likely kill him regardless of the promise), because he feels discontent with Morpheus, his promises, and his need for mindless enjoyment (the steak).

Your question: Agree or disagree with the fate/ free will assertion in The Matrix?  Why?  If you believe that there is some element of free will that I have overlooked, please let me know.

250 words minimum.  Due Tuesday, April 16.