This article concludes the series “The Best Way to Fight Western Propaganda” by brainstorming on the subject to encourage more brainstorming by the readers. The series argues that the best way to fight western propaganda is to create the new Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and California of the future by bringing the best and brightest from around the world to Hainan Island to reverse the Western Propaganda. It defines TV as the most powerful tool of destruction of the Western Empire. It sees it necessary to change the environment of TV to bring about a cultural revolution against the Western Propaganda.
Hainan Island could be the treasure China is looking for. Its close proximity to strategic region that is being used to contain China, and to lock it up into the continent in case of a major war, would be the key for China to open the door wide to access Pacific without any restrictions and worries. This is very important to free the world island from the encirclement of the Western Empire. Free access to pacific will be crucial in case of a major war with the Empire. Thinking outside of the box in the region, and making Hainan Island the best place in the world to be by gathering the best and the brightest, would make it a cultural center of the region and the world, which would eventually result in the close connection, and communication with the region around the island, which is a key for China to open the cage the Empire is building.
The Empire will think twice if it loses the ability to cage China into the world island. They want to see Chinese caged. They don’t like the idea of free range Chinese. Chinese must think outside of the cage to break the lock. The West cannot go to war against free range Chinese. If China breaks this lock, it will decrease the possibility of war, because free moving Chinese navy would be a sufficient deterrent for the U.S. to think twice before organizing any military action against the Chinese. It is a huge mistake to think that if you cave to the Empire, the possibility of attack by the Empire will decline, because you are satisfying the needs of the Empire. It is quite the opposite; if you don’t hold your position to protect your crucial interests, you will be an easier target for the Empire, and you will make a major war more likely than not.
Hainan Island is the key to break this lock. It can also bring cultural leadership in the world to China, if it is managed wisely. China harbored different cultures and peoples in the past, and it can definitely do so in the future successfully. A couple of million people can easily start this revolution of culture, science, technology, and they can easily be accommodated on the Island. Even if it increases to 10 million in the distant future, it is still easily manageable for a population of 1.5 billion Chinese. Our first target should be to take the cultural leadership from the West, followed by taking the military, economic, and political dominance back from the West. In order to do this we should unite the World Island first in cultural, and political terms.
What I have in mind is several millions of people from around the world representing all cultures and peoples, capable of doing great things for their countries, and peoples under the leadership of China which is a cradle of civilization. Interaction between all these people under a wise and powerful culture would result in explosion of creativity and talent. Unlike racist, and violent American culture, Chinese culture has thousands of years experience of harboring different peoples through trade and cultural exchange. It should not be a big challenge for Chinese society to harbor these people to trigger creativity, and talent. In the long run, it can go up to ten million foreigners, doubling the current population of the island. This should still be manageable considering half of the population will still be Chinese on the Island. Ten million is still a small enough in comparison to Chinese population. This should bring the leadership of the world to China in many fields, including arts, education, technology, and movie making. It can act like a glue to unite all these cultures under eastern values, inclusiveness, and spirituality. It can trigger a cultural revolution, and eventually reverse the Western Propaganda which has been ruling the world for too many centuries by now. It is especially important to unite Asia and the World Island under leadership. China’s its own California would be this uniting force through cultural exchange.
We need to think outside of the box, the magic box, the T.V. in order to deal with these boxing, caging, enslaving tools, systems, tactics, and cultures. We need to get out of the TV first in order to free our minds. We need to get out of the cultural, perceptional, psychological operations of the West to honor our cultures, our existence, our countries, our peoples on the world stage. How come we made this killing-stealing culture in the image of democracy and human rights, how come we were duped so powerfully. Images, sounds, films we see and hear on TV fooled us, and made us into slaves of false feedback of information, news, and knowledge. This is how slavery is still going on in the U.S., colonization is still going on in the Middle East, exploitation is still going on in the World, robbery of the world resources is going on through printing dollars and enforcing it through military might and violence. We need to free our minds first, and we need a cultural revolution in order to that.
The rest of the article goes deeper into philosophy of film because whatever we see on screens is technically and philosophically film. Power of film explains power of Hollywood, and the power of Western Empire.
Rudolf Arnheim thinks that “film gives simultaneously the effect of an actual happening and of a picture.” Yes, it is an effect of an actual happening, not an actual happening itself. It is an illusion of reality, not reality itself. It fools you, deceives you, it creates illusions, it puts you in a dream world, not in real world. There are many reasons for it. For example, television was created as a propaganda tool, and it has been applied as a propaganda tool. The best and widely accepted example would be Nazi Germany, because everybody knows Hitler was a bad person. So it would be like Hitler wanted to deceive you, to brainwash you, and to turn you into brainwashed and deceived killer zombies so you can go kill Jews. Well, forgive me for applying mainstream media stereotypes to make my point, but it really makes a great point. Our minds are full of pre-conditioned, pre-structured, pre-engineered concepts, meanings, understandings, worlds, universes, multiple universes like bubbles of freshly opened soda can, images of Gods, like the old guy with the white beard, and so on.
Is it natural to have such pre-made, pre-calculated images and concepts in our juicy brains? I call it juicy at this point because it is vulnerable to illusion and delusion. It is also delicious as Hannibal concurs along with owners of mainstream media companies. The Answer is no, it is not. It is artificial. It is made by artists, producers, and the bankers who financed them. Banksters would be a better definition, not only because Bill Gates’ Microsoft word objects to it, but also because they rob you after they brainwash you. So, it is not your fault if it creeps you out to open your shower curtain, or to see all these African bees, ants as violent creatures that are here to kill you, eat you and to invade you.
Film is full of these images and concepts. There are always assumed knowledge and information in movies, such as Hitler is bad, Nazis are Nazis. See, it already became an image and an adjective. Muslims are violent and they chop off heads, no matter the background information that many of these people you see on TV are working for Mossad and CIA and they were created, fed and armed to topple foreign governments. No matter undercover British agents were caught bombing places to ignite civil war between Shia and Sunni groups. No matter many foreign agents were photographed in Syria posing as head chopper Muslims, igniting a civil war against a popular leader, with Sunni-Shia conflict sauce. Not only Mossad agents were photographed but Israel bombed the country in support of these rebels as well. Terror tactics, massacres, assassinations, threats, intelligence and military operations were deployed against this country by western intelligence services, using their Muslim looking agents. The United States caught red handed in Benghazi while using Al Qaida, and transferring them from Libya to Syria, after they are done with these guys in Libya against Gaddafi. No matter Al Qaida was created by CIA and always controlled, monitored, and steered by the western intelligence. It should be OK to use these guys against our enemies who were defined as such by the media.
The picture in people’s mind though, especially in the West and in western backed countries, is very different than reality, and the main reason is media. What you see on TV is technically, and philosophically, a film. Whatever you see on screen, whenever you see it, is a film from philosophical and technical points of views. It is a piece of art as well. Art has the same illusionistic and delusion creating capacities as well. We live in a world of illusion where art replaced reality. The concept of real is upside down in almost all minds on this planet. It is built on art, lies, and manipulations, instead of on truth, real knowledge and real science.
Knowledge and science are known to be manipulated by the ruling elite all the time. Science has centuries old habit of declaring there are too many people on the planet and the planet cannot handle this many people. Science was used to justify racism, colonialism and exploitation. Knowledge is directly connected to power. Power relation between knowledge and authority is explained very clearly by Marxist ideology and by philosophers like Michel Foucault and Edward Said. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Therefore God is corrupt or must be corrupt one might assume. As you see even logic doesn’t work when your assumptions to begin with is wrong. Even logic can be very wrong and can lead to whole set of wrong assumptions, can create a system of wrong conclusions or can lead to a world built on wrong assumptions and conclusions. In considering God, there is no corruption by definition in God, but for humans power corrupts completely in most cases as we see in our own lives dealing with more powerful entities than ourselves. It is getting more difficult to save the day.
We know power corrupts, and the most powerful and wealthy are more corrupt than ever. They have the financial resources to establish institutions to create the world of film, cinema, and TV. The ultimate trick is almost all illusions and delusions we have in our minds are planted there by screens, and whatever we see on screen is film, and creation by others. There are many people working behind screens. There are people financing. There are people working on knowledge in Academic Industrial Complex, not only creating and supplying knowledge to the ruling elite, but also engineering, producing and manufacturing students for the ruling classes. There are people working on control, exploitation and projection of power in Military Industrial Complex, ordering mainstream media and entertainment companies to produce as the ruling elite wishes. There is Mass Media Industrial Complex producing images for our minds, working in conjunction with Academic Industrial Complex and Military Industrial Complex, to control human kind, and to project power as much as and as long as it can.
All these industrial complexes engineered by the ruling classes are controlled by the few who hold financial resources in their control. There are only few at top controlling all of this structure like an octopus. Their hands are all over the place. It is extremely and criminally naïve to expect this structure lets film, cinema, and TV – a.k.a. the Mass Media for our eyes and our ears that hold almost all of the receptors for our brains – to function freely and creatively for the imagination and enjoyment of human kind. It is anti-imagination and anti-human in nature. It is imagination for the ruling elite, but deception and illusion for masses.
This conclusion is very logical considering the motivation behind all these power, wealth, control, oppression, exploitation, colonization with the legacy of slavery is still in our minds. It is not surprising that while we have been enjoying the Mass Media all these times, it suddenly appeared that the top 0.001% owns us all. Was it illusion or magic, that I don’t know, but if illusion is a technical reality we all are aware of, I would call this process magic, maybe dark magic, or maybe even the dark arts not many of us are aware of. The process is well beyond being an illusion; it is a lot deeper than that. It is more like deception to some end. That is why I don’t agree with Currie on this subject, and I find the idea of Rudolf Arnheim useful in further philosophical investigation of the subject. We have been being boiled in illusion of reality for a long time.
The philosophy of film starts with the fact that what we see and what we hear feed most of our brains. Most receptors of our brain are in our eyes and ears. What we see and hear defines us unless we develop high critical thinking skills. What we read is also what we see, so that is part of the movie in personal level. Our lives are like movies. Your life is like film. You look at books, newspapers, you hear sounds of cars, and it is like a movie not only because the environment we live in is engineered by others, political and social scenes are staged, but also because you move around like a camera. We live in a staged and engineered environment. Somebody wrote that book, and somebody built that city, wherever you go, life is like a movie. You move like a camera, turn your head like a camera, you see things, hear things. So, the personal life is like a movie. Film imitates this experience.
We look at screens all the time. It becomes part of our lives, our own personal films. This is why philosophy of film is so important; film imitates personal experience, provide alternative experiences, it fools us overtly and covertly, it makes us, it nourishes us, it affects our psyche, it gives us personal experience, yet it is all staged, created, planned by wealthy and powerful to further their own interests. There is not only an all shouting and displaying Mass Media but there is also an all hearing and seeing Orwellian state apparatus today. How scary is that it is not only what you see and hear are all engineered but it is also what you say and do are also heard and seen, and recorded as well to provide a fast movie clip of your entire movie like life in case authorities want to check it out quickly. It is not only you are given a world artificially created by artists who serve the power, but you are also watched in case you don’t accept the program; the false reality given to you to fool you, and to trap you.
In order to engage philosophy of film in a meaningful way, one needs to look at the world of meanings provided by film, because in today’s society everything is film, including your private lives. Don’t get surprised if the building, the street, and the neighborhood you live in were built based on a movie. Power of film, as a form of art that creates artificial knowledge and reality, is far more than to create an illusion. It can create civilizations, destroy the old ones, and provide humanity with a new form of life to aspire to. It can invade and destroy our minds, gives us new personalities, and makes us prisoners of its set of meanings and imagined realities. It is so powerful that I would focus on this power, instead of getting into details of technicalities of filming. It is obvious that the technique of filming has illusion mechanism in it. We can simply call it magic. Isn’t it magical that we can take photographs and film our surroundings?
Arnheim believes that film creates illusion. He says illusion is partial. I say illusion can be partial or whole. There are infinite stages of illusion film can provide. It can also stick to reality, or even make reality more real than reality to make it easier for people to comprehend reality. Therefore, I believe film can be real or illusion. The reason for this is that film is illusion of reality. It provides reality, but it is an illusion. Illusion can also be used to provide reality. Technical aspect of film reveals that the process creates illusion. It is not the real thing but a representation of the real thing, therefore it can be used to represent reality as it is, but it still has the element of illusion in it. Technique is based on illusion. Illusion, as a technique, can be used to bring realities of life to people. People can learn from this illusion. Despite the fact that the technique is illusion, filming the Earth from the orbit would provide some form of reality. On the other hand, because the technique is based on illusion, it can easily be used to fool people as well into thinking that the world is really different that it actually is. It is up to the producer whether to fool people or not. Film about scientific aspect of molecules and atoms for example, can even bring a reality that we were not aware of before. It can amplify reality, it can destroy it, and it can provide partial or whole illusions.
The way the brain works was explained very successfully in the movie the Matrix; the brain can be fooled to accept illusion as reality, but there is always a form of reality in what we see, because our processors, our brains, our simulation central processors have pre-built mechanism to create meaning. It judges the environment with these pre-built emotions, instincts, meanings and programs. You can fool the human by playing with his sensors and environment, but the human still stays human; meaning that the central core of being human is buried deep under our skins. After engineering what we see and hear, and how and where we live, the next step will be to engineer biological characteristics of next generations, to make them more easily manipulated by film and the environment.
I heard people talking about engineering humans to make them smaller and more efficient on the radio the same day I heard a lawyer from Boston complaining about too many people on the planet on the same radio. It was insane because at that time people talking about these things, we were still threatening other countries with bombing. What is the logic then? We will bomb you, kill you, and engineer you to make you more efficient? Planet is dying because you are too many? Actually, the planet is good enough to support hundreds of billions of people who chose to live simple and ethical lives. The problem is the system, consumerism, and the entertainment culture that keeps us busy and entertained while we destroy ourselves. TV is the central core of this system of control.
Curie says film does not create illusion, partial or otherwise. He accepts film has considerable powers to engage and to persuade, but these powers are not accounted for in terms of illusion, according to Currie. He argues that these are accounted for in terms of imagination. But, whose imagination is that. Imagination, creation, production come from producers’ side mostly, it is already imagined and created when it arrives in front of the eyes of viewers. Viewers experience illusions instead, it is illusion for viewers. It is producers’ imagination, and viewers’ illusion. We lose ourselves in the imagination of the producer, in the illusions of the screen and of our minds. It is not correct to say it is imagination because the ideas, the art of work, the images, the wishes of film makers, choices made in filming, limit us and entrap us in the imagination of the artist and the producers. We are entrapped and locked up in the imagination of the artist, not in our own imagination. What we experience is the illusion that prisons us into the imagination of the creator. Like the music of ice cream truck I am hearing right now puts me in a dream state in just a couple of seconds. I am hypnotized into a dream world so quickly. The trick of film is to make us believe that it is our imagination, while the reality is it is the creator’s imagination, and our illusion. It is an illusion.
Illusion is based on reality. In order to be an illusion, to create false realities, it has to be based on reality, must be connected to reality. It has to be illusion of reality. The core that generates meaning in our brains, understands things based on this core meanings. It is built to generate simulation based on reality, whatever we perceive is understood based on this reality. There is no escape from reality. It has to be connected to reality, must be some form of reality or another, in order to fool us into believing it is reality. Even fiction, some degree or another, is based on reality; it has real meanings such as courage, love, hate, bravery, coward-ness, and jealousy. Illusions are perceived in this reality, in this central core of the simulation machine that gives meaning to everything. The human is there no matter what kind of illusions we bring to the viewer. We can’t change the human, but only can bring false realities and illusions to them.
The claim that film, where it uses the photographic method, reproduces rather than merely represents the real world, because photographs capture objects themselves rather than likeness or representations of them, is true. Film plays with time and image, it edits. There are many things going on behind the scene, many decisions are made, before a picture is taken. It is placed in a context in a way that it has pre-conceived meaning in it. Its meaning and how it is understood is based on this broader context it is placed in. The picture is reproduced in this context. It reproduces itself in the mind rather than barely represent a picture. It has already history, and meaning, context before it is seen by the viewer. It is a tiny part of broader project worked by the people behind the scene. The picture becomes a story. The picture can tell you a long story after it became part of a greater meaning. You don’t have to tell the story of 9/11 anymore. You only show the picture of twin towers, and viewers remember the whole story. The fact that most of them have no idea what really happened is a whole another story. You need to screen collapse of building 7 to tell that story. After that you only need the picture of building 7 collapsing to tell the whole story.
You don’t only see pigeons when you watch the Hitchcock movie; you see potential murderers and violent creatures towards the end of the movie. It scares you when the pigeon turns its head and looks at you. You don’t see an Iranian woman in her social environment, in her social relationships in that Iranian movie, but you only see a prostitute victimized by the society that fails her. It doesn’t give any information about how much respect and support an average woman gets in Iranian society in return the respect and support she gives to the society around her, when it only films people talking in a car. You don’t see any Iranians talking and smiling to each other in that context. Picturing powerful family relationships and powerful social connections would give a better idea why the most powerful army in history lost two wars in a decade in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and why it will definitely lose the Iran war as well. The pictures reproduced reality rather than represented them. It created false reality.
According to Curie, this view is most associated with Andre Bazin. Following Kendall Walton, Curie calls this doctrine Transparency; film is transparent in that we see “through” it to the real world, as we see through a window or a lens. (Curie, 20) Film is indeed transparent. The fact is reality is connected to meaning generation; as long as there are real meanings and film plays with real meanings – otherwise is impossible because human mind executes, performs based on this reality – film is transparent in this definition. It is a window that opens through world of reality; the reality of human mind. The human mind can only function based on this reality. No matter how fictional the material is, how edited, how manipulated, and how full of illusion the material is, human mind decodes it based on “this world of meanings, or attaining meanings”. It is treated as if it is real world, otherwise it would be impossible for human mind to make any sense out of it. Therefore film always manipulates or tries to manipulate this core of meaning generator in human brain.
It always refers to the real world, because it is connected to the real world. Even phantasy world is derived from real world, from real psychological processes of the human mind, and from emotions and desires of human psyche. No matter how manipulative or how absurd the film is, it is always a window to the real world. Film is transparent in this sense that it refers to the real world, to the core generator of the human mind, and to the human psyche that is biologically and psychologically connected to the human existence. Human existence is evolutionarily connected to the Earth in time and space. In time and space, everything is connected. It is impossible to escape reality, no matter what; no matter how deep we go into dreaming in a movie, no matter how high or stoned we are in a chemically induced altered mental state, or no matter how ignorant and illiterate we are.
Film always plays with reality, trying to manipulate the mental core or human psyche. It generates artificially created environment for the human brain to perform in. The human brain, as a simulation generator of the world of real meanings, reacts to this artificial reality as if it is the real world because there are real meanings in this artificial reality. It performs based on real meanings. If artificial knowledge, artificial reality, artificial enemies, artificial friends, artificial hopes, artificial obstacles, artificial aims for life, artificial anything else are created in this artificially created, staged, edited and displayed world of artificial meanings, fake characters, made up plots, manipulated facts, historical inaccuracy, and false consciousness, then human mind can easily be duped into treating this artificial information bombardment as if it is the real world, can respond to it as if it is the real world, and can accept is as if it is the real world, because it treats the information it gets through senses as if it is real information, and there is no other way.
It might result in an artificially created society that lives in an artificially created fake world. This kind of society and its individuals can easily be manipulated into accepting lies as the truth. Things can be easily turned upside down in this kind of society. They might start treating criminals as heroes, seeing friends as enemies, accepting enemies as friends, accusing the victims as offenders, believing slavery is freedom and freedom is slavery, believing bombing people is bringing democracy, believing killing people is liberating people, believing stealing resources is investing for development, believing terrorizing populations is fighting terrorism, and thinking waging wars is making peace. Therefore it is very important to recognize the fact that film is transparent and it creates illusions for human mind.
The idea of film watching approximates the normal experience of perceiving the real world. Curie calls this Likeness; the experience of film is, or can be, like the experience of the real world. Curie mentions that this doctrine has been asserted by Bazin in connection with long take, deep focus style. Curie argues this kind of realism is a matter of degree, and long take style is merely more realistic in this sense than montage style is. (Curie, 20) Curie at least accepts there is degree of realism in film. Any technique which can play with degree of realism has a mechanism of illusion in it at least. Saying that some techniques are more realistic than others is accepting that there is a degree of illusion involved in film making, therefore accepting that illusion is part of film making process. It is illusion on reality as a technique, and illusion of reality as film. There are degrees as I mentioned before. It can be made as a window to reality without manipulating the mind, it can be made more real than reality by explaining unknown reality to viewer without manipulating the mind in a very straight and professional manner, or it can be used to manipulate mind in false realities in such a degree that individual might experience illusions and delusions as result.
Likeness as explained by Curie corresponds to my explanation of human mind; human mind can only perceive the information as if it corresponds to the real world: that is how mind works. It always recognizes film as likeness to reality. It looks for real human meanings no matter what kind of strange materials it is exposed to. It looks for villains, innocence, threat, dangers, hope and courage. In this explanation, film always performs based on illusion, and whether this illusion capacity is used to reflect the reality or some form of distorted reality is up to the artists, creator, and producers. Therefore it is very important to recognize who are these people financing, creating, staging, and producing film, movies and TV material. I call this philosophy in personal level. It is about who, where, with whom, what, how and why. In short WWWWWHW or W5hW.
It is about the human mind and what is in it, so W5hW should be taken very seriously. Ignoring this fact would lead to great level of ignorance that is outright stupidity and coward-ness for the most part of philosophical community. Invasion of human mind should be taken no less seriously than invasion of countries. If it is realized that massive amount of financial capital and therefore the capacity to produce film and distribute it, is concentrated in the hands of few, the seriousness of this issue can be understood better. If further realized from philosophical and technical points of view, whatever we see on screens, whether it is film, movie, TV, or advertisement is actually film, the magnitude of the danger can be understood even further. That is why Marxist philosophers and critics of Hollywood movies constantly assert the fact that film creates illusion. Despite the fact that no philosopher has justified private property without assuming that there is no scarcity and there are always more native peoples, lands, resources, and countries to enslave, grab, exploit, and colonize, we don’t see much material on screens that criticize the current status quo of the ruling elites in the world. It is quite the opposite actually; screens are used to justify the current system, by luring individuals into a world of deception, seduction, manipulation and destruction. It is not only an illusion, but also a deception.
The claim that film is realistic in its capacity to engender in the viewer an illusion of the reality and present-ness of fictional characters and events portrayed, is called Illusionism by Curie. My explanation of Likeness as a result of how human mind works leads to Transparency because we always look at the real world of meanings unescapably. Reproduction of real world by using technique of illusion, art of illusion, and perception of illusion leads to Illusion and Illusionism. In summary Likeness leads to Transparency, Transparency leads to illusion of reality that is Illusion. Illusionism is rightfully asserted by Arnheim, studio publicity writers, and Marxist critics of the Hollywood film a.k.a. Entertainment Industrial Complex backed by Military Industrial Complex. I would call these “The 3000”; top 0.001% or around three thousand avengers who control rest of us through their financial control over these industries and other means. This is part of Illusionism because you don’t see these behind the screen actors on screens exposing themselves and explaining their agendas. The world or the reality come in front of us planned, staged, edited, cut, copied and pasted.
Much of the history of film and film theory can be recognized as a debate about the relations between these three doctrines, according to Curie. Bazin says that Transparency requires the film maker to exploit the possibilities for reproducing in film our visual experience of the world; film represents the real world, so it should do so in a way which approximates as closely as possible our experience of that world, as Curie mentions. Many theorists have agreed that Likeness makes for illusionism; the closer the experience of film watching approximates the experience of seeing the real world, the more effectively film engenders in the viewer the illusion that he or she is watching reality, writes Curie. (Curie, 21) Film is connected to reality; that is what makes it an illusion. The more film looks like it is real world, the more the power of illusion because it tricks people believing the illusion is real, more powerfully. The more a movie looks like it is part of our real world experience, it is like our lives, our cities, our environment, our social relations, the more we start to see ourselves in the movie, the more we project ourselves into the movie, the more we believe it is like our lives. This creates a power to fool people into believing the reflection of life on the screen is like real life, and is like our lives. The fact is it is not. It is just a distorted reflection of our lives. It is distorted by many processes including technical processes. The most powerful distortion comes from humans though. Screen writers, producers, and directors distort reality by inserting their own understanding, influence, and point of view into the movie.
Curie accepts the fact that, whatever disagreements there have been between particular theorists on these issues, there is general agreement about the close connection between the three doctrines: Transparency, Likeness, and Illusionism. However Curie believes these three doctrines are independent from each other. How one can believe these three closely connected concepts are independent from each other is a difficult question to answer. These concepts are closely related. Curie also rejects Transparency tentatively, and rejects Illusionism firmly, but accepts Likeness. This incoherent approach is also difficult to explain.
He can’t even say he rejects these ideas, but he uses words tentatively, and firmly to explain his rejections. It is a stretch without clarity on the issue. He argues two things about Illusionism. First, he argues that it is a mistaken doctrine. Second, he distinguishes between two versions of illusionism: the view that film creates an illusion of the present-ness and reality of the fictional events it portrays and the view that the basic mechanism of film creates an illusion of movement. In order to do this Curie requires distinction between cognitive and perceptual illusions. Both kinds of illusions are closely linked as I discussed before. Technical aspect of film making is based on illusion, and it makes fictional aspect possible. Without this mechanism it would not be possible to make film. With this mechanism it is up to makers of film how much illusion they want to perform in their film.
Curing Curie is not my main purpose in this article, but a cure for Curie is needed. Curie doesn’t want to get into a very important subject on the issue, because it further weakens his positions. He doesn’t want to get into how social relations portrayed in movies. It is a very important subject because the way social relations work determines how society works. Portraying these social relations in a way other than how it works in real life can give a distorted picture of reality. Portraying the truth as it is, on the other hand, can lead to outrage, if it is offensive for some segments of society. The best example of this is, many perverse, unwanted and undesirable forced social relations can be portrayed as love relations, mutually benefited relations, or desired relations in movies. This can hide the truth and ease social relations little bit, but it can’t hide the truth forever. Exposing the cruelty and oppressive ties behind these relations, on the other hand, can enlighten society about these unnatural relations enforced by the powerful. Replacing mass propaganda film making with enlightening truthful film making for example, can trigger mass revolts and revolutions in a matter of weeks. But again, it is also possible to reverse the truth upside down, in order to create false revolutions towards false ends in false consciousness.
Curie’s escapism on this very important subject should be read from his own words. There is not much more to comment on his escapist attitude on the subject. His own words reveal more than anyone can say about his avoidance of the most important aspect of film making historically. It was created and used to control societies by defining social relations. Images of savage Native Americans kidnap white women and attack peaceful ranchers are still in our minds. We were not being aware of the magnitude of genocide, extermination, cruelty, cold calculations, false justifications, and outright lies by images at that time. Nobody told us on TV that these settlers invaded natives’ country either.
Social relations were portrayed very differently than how it really was. This is true for our current social atmosphere as well. TV ridiculously portrays law enforcement community and medical community very different than they actually are. Our social relations and society are portrayed very differently. The fact is that most Americans are forced to live slavish lives full of oppression is hidden on TV. It is also hidden that 90% of people in this country suffer in many ways due to lack of financial, social, legal and medical support from their communities. Only the top 1% as owners of the society, and the top 10% as managers of the society can expect to live fairly trouble free and productive lives. The rest is deeply buried under the world of lies, oppression and depression.
Let’s see how Curie avoids getting into this supposedly Marxist discussion about film. He exposes his character in this paragraph: “ There is another kind of realism about film which has been historically important and which I shall not discuss: the view that films can be placed among a dimension of realism according to whether and to what extent they represent deeply significant social relations. A fictional film might be said to be realistic in this sense because it portrays fictional characters as standing in social relations important for determining the outcomes of interpersonal interactions in real life, and portrays the outcomes of the characters’ interactions as largely determined by their standing in those relations. This seems to me a perfectly intelligible sense of realism. The question of whether there are such relations and, if so, what they are, is an important – perhaps the most important – question of social theory. I leave that question to be settled by social theorists, whose skills and knowledge are quite different from those typical of film theorists and philosophers. “(Curie, 21-22) A philosopher avoids what he thinks one of the most important questions of social theory. Curie avoids this question because discussing the subject would make it impossible for him to defend his point of view which is film creates no illusion. Perhaps the cure for Curie is this question, but he avoids it so honestly that Curie deserves no cure at this point. Curing Curie is no quickie.
Let’s look at what Curie thinks about the claim that film causes cognitive illusions. I will take his explanation of stronger and weaker versions of cognitive illusion in order to be able to discuss the subject and Curie’s point of view on the subject. Curie writes; “The claim that film causes cognitive illusions is this: film watching, in some systematic way, and as part of the normal process of the viewer’s engagement, causes the viewer to have the false belief that the fictional characters and events represented are real.” (Curie, 22) It certainly has the capacity to create cognitive illusions. The magnitude of illusion can change, but nonetheless it always has the capacity to create illusions because it operates on reality and always has potential to distort reality, as I described before.
Curie explains weaker and stronger versions as; “A weak version says merely that the film viewer comes to believe that what is represented onscreen is real. A stronger version also asserts that the viewer believes that he or she is watching real events. On the weak view, what is happening onscreen is taken for what it really is, namely a representation, and the illusion comes in when we say the viewer takes it to be a representation of real events…most people who think that film is illusionistic take the stronger view. They think film has the capacity to make the viewer think that he or she is actually watching real events. “(Curie, 22) It appears to me that the weaker version explains Transparency and the stronger version explains Likeness. It is Transparent so it is like looking at real world, seeing a representation of real world. It has Likeness so it is like real world.
I described the real world as the world of real meanings, therefore in my argument what is real is broader and it doesn’t have to be exact copy of the real world; real feelings, emotions, ideas that are relevant to human beings can easily be expressed in fictional movies and novels without copying the exact landscape of the Earth. Imagination can take this human core, and carry it in space and time and even beyond space and time, and see the cosmos behind these glasses made of human core that is the meaning generator for human mind. But, we don’t need this broad definition of what is real in order to tackle Curie’s ideas on the subject. Without this broader definition, it is also easy to see both definitions of cognitive illusion are accurate. The difference is a matter of degree that changes from situation to situation and from person to person. Film watching is a subjective process that needs to take different possibilities into account such as age, education level and experience of the viewer.
The experience will change from person to person, from time to time, because it is subjective. In some situation stronger version applies and in another weaker version applies, but both versions are correct. It is cognitive illusion, it sometimes happens strongly and sometimes weakly. One of the best examples for the stronger version is a kind of TV journalism which fools audience into believing that non happening events are happening. The audience who are unaware and unconscious of what appears to be a live transmission of real events is actually a carefully planned, staged, and performed theatre, can easily be duped into believing that they are watching real event. In this case the stronger version of cognitive illusion occurs. These kind of strong cognitive illusions were planned, staged and performed successfully during Iraq Wars, Libya Intervention and Syrian Civil War.
To promote Iraq War, a staged performance took place in Congress about Iraqis killing Kuwaiti babies, and viewers believed it was real. During Libya intervention, staged protests were made look like real protests where there weren’t any protest but demonstration of support for Libyan Leader Kaddafi. Western armed and trained terrorists including Al Qaida were made look like people who are fighting against their own government. Syrian Civil War started by unimaginable violence, terrorism, threats, assassinations, and massive bombings by foreign terrorists who were trained, supplied and shipped by NATO. It was aired live as a rebellion against government by western media while people supported their own government against these foreign terrorist who were killing Syrians in a massive scale. In all three cases, we saw staged false realities were introduced as live and natural real events. Most people were fooled by these images, because they believed they were looking at real events. They didn’t know much about interest groups, banksters, and producers were staging all these events behind the screens because it looked like live events, real actual happenings. A staged event performed by actors was aired as real, natural and live event. It created strong cognitive illusions in viewers, as witnessed in Libya intervention.
Curie gives a very bad example to discredit this stronger version of cognitive illusionism. People know when they are watching movies that these events they see on screen are not actually happening. I see the world is being destroyed but I know it is not happening. Brad Pitt is not really killing someone right now simply because I am watching that movie right now. Why Curie confirms to such stupidity is beyond explanation, but it exposes him as so desperate to discredit illusionism that he actually discredits himself. The next sentences of him could actually be end of Curie as a philosopher. Curie makes his point; “Perhaps there is sense in which the film viewer is watching real events. If the thesis of Transparency is correct, then when I watch a film which stars Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, I really see those people; I don’t merely see representations of them as I would if I was looking at a painting or an animated cartoon which has Bergman and Grant as its subject.” (Curie, 23) Transparency is correct, but the example is wrong. The best example for Transparency would be live TV journalism as I discussed above.
TV journalism is a very good example for cognitive illusion. People believe they are watching representation of real events when they watch TV journalism. Live TV journalism is a very good example for the stronger version of cognitive illusion. People believe they are watching real time events when they watch live TV journalism. Curie’s example is a non-working example in this case. After giving a bad example for Transparency Curie declares he will deal with Transparency in the next chapter because it is only one side of his concern. In the next sentence which is immediately after the sentence he declares he will take care of the issue in the next chapter, Curie accepts his example is confusing by writing; “The strong version of illusionism just characterized is not the claim that we see, and believe we see, real actors on sets and locations acting our part.”(Curie, 23) He was quick to accept his faulty explanation in previous sentences of the same paragraph. But repeats his mistake again by suggesting that would be true if Transparency was correct.
He still suggests that we would see real actors on sets, and not the fiction and story performed by actors, if Transparency was true. He writes in a confusing manner to make his point on Transparency again even after he declares he won’t deal with the issue until the next chapter; “If Transparency is correct, there would be no illusion involved in having that belief, since the belief would be true.”(Curie, 23) This is an honest declaration that he doesn’t understand what Transparency is, and does not conform to the main understanding of Transparency by the most in the field.
After all these confusing sentences and examples, he defines strong version of illusionism again to clear the mass he just created. He accepts the real meaning of Transparency by clearing what strong version of illusionism suggests; “The strong version of illusionism asserts, rather, that when I see the film starring Bergman and Grant, I believe I am watching the fictional events which the film presents: the activities of, say, U.S. counter-espionage agents coming to grips with postwar Nazi plot in South America.”(Curie, 23) His correct understanding of strong illusionism at the end of the paragraph is very impressive, despite the fact that it is still mysterious that how much he is aware of the fact the Transparency is part of this strong version of Illusionism complying with the example he brought.
It is like looking at the real world or real meanings of the world through a glass window. Meanings are in plots, characters and fiction. We are looking at this world transparently, not to the details of acting, set and production. Unless the viewer is a director who is interested in these details, the viewer usually don’t see these details, the viewer would rather lose herself in the meaningful world provided to her by the film. A Director can focus on poor lighting, terrible acting, cheap costumes, bad camera angle, and wrongful directing instead of focusing in the movie. This is optional. Most of the time viewers take screens as windows to the real world.
According to Curie; “The standard theory seems to be something like this: the illusion peculiar to film is that the viewer is present at the events of the story, watching from the position actually occupied by the camera, which the viewer thinks of as his or her position. Thus Bela Balazs: “In the cinema the camera carries the spectator into the film picture itself. We see everything from the inside as it were and are surrounded by the characters of the film.” And Erwin Panofsky: “Aesthetically [the spectator] is in permanent motion as his eye identifies itself with the lens of the camera.” “(Curie, 23) Curie does not deny that it is possible for film to engender this sort of an illusion on the part of a viewer. This means he accepts he is wrong, but he covers it as suggesting; “On a liberal enough view of possibility, it is possible for anything to create an illusion of anything else.” (Curie, 24) He reduces all these great explanation of how filming and illusion work, to a mere liberal enough view that suggests anything can create illusion of anything else. That is at least a big bias. It is also ignorance as a result of his self-serving attitude.
At the end he declares that he denies mechanism of film create illusion; “But this mere possibility is not at issue when people claim that film is illusionistic; rather, they claim that the standard mechanism by which film engages the audience is illusionistic, that the creation of an illusion of reality is a standard feature of the transaction between film and viewer. That is what I deny.” (Curie, 24) This is the opposite of my point of view. I discussed that the mechanism involves illusion by default and it is up to production crew that how much illusion is utilized and created in film making. As I suggested before it is possible to use this mechanism to make the movie even more real than reality, or to make it a total illusion.
Curie writes; “There are two serious objections to the idea that film induces the illusion that fictional events are real and that the viewer is directly witnessing them. The first is that film viewers simply do not react in the way that people would react who believed in the reality of fictional events the film depicts. You have only to reflect for a moment on how you would react if you saw, or thought you saw, a threatening monster, or if you thought yourself alone in a house with an axe murderer, or if you thought you were watching someone about to be attacked by an axe murderer, to see that your behavior in the cinema is quite unlike that of someone who really did believe in the reality of the fiction presented.”(Curie, 24) These two objections are correct, but Curie believes if these objections were true people would run away when they see monsters, which is a very bad argument for reality as I discussed before. His argument is if you don’t jump on the screen and try to defend yourself from fictional characters then you don’t take it as real. His argument is wrong. It is like real world or it is real world where danger is present and we need to be brave, smart, and strong to survive, but we know it is a movie, and it is not happening right now, because we paid for the tickets at the entrance to get in. We are aware this time it is entertainment and illusion. It would be very different though if we were told that we are watching real events when we watch the live news at home.
First of all people react to these movies physiologically and psychologically. There are real interactions between these kinds of horror movies and the people watching them. People perceive threats, get anxious for the characters in the movies, scream and jump from the seat. There is a real interaction despite the fact that viewer is aware of superficiality and fictional character of the movie. The movie is based on real world concepts such as threat, attack, violence, and death. Curie previously accepted that this is not a condition to be real and to be witnessed as real. Some filming such as live TV journalism can create this effect that people are really dying at that moment, as I discussed before. I already explained why I find this condition unnecessary to tackle illusionism. People are not stupid; they know they are watching pre-recorded movies when they are in movie theaters.
There is always reaction to movies whether physically and emotionally. What Curie takes as real is a live happening which in not required. A documentary about lions could be very real, but it is not live happening when you watch it. It is pre-recorded window to reality you don’t know. Of course Curie’s interpretation of real has many easy objections such as if you don’t die when a movie character shoots at camera or you are in the middle of nuclear explosion then you don’t take movie as real. These interpretations of what is real and objections to Illusionism to undermine Illusionism are comical at best.
Curie further ignores examples of how people react to movies. He ignores the past examples of people reacting to movies as if it is real. There are relatively recent examples as well; such as September 11 movies. People reacted to these movies as if these are real happenings. It was lots of covering up, editing, staging, and creating as well, but it was introduced as real events. Staging of Libya and Syria events were very similar as well. As recent revelations of Edward Snowden suggest many warnings were received, intelligence and information were accurate and available, and the CIA knew it all. Many other whistle blowers and undeniable evidence prove 9/11 to be a military and intelligence operation to expand the empire’s agenda.
Despite all the evidence and undeniable truths in front of people’s eyes, it is unbelievable to see American people still subscribes to the official explanation. As a person who read “Echelon” and “the Grand Chessboard” in high school, I can only blame the magic box for such a grand scale mass ignorance and illiteracy on the part of American people. Orwellian apparatus and techniques help as well, but TV is the most responsible one because it involves in all these crimes against humanity. Orwellian brainwashing use mainstream media and Hollywood movies to pursue its agenda.
Curie’s point of view on Illusionism as a philosopher makes me suspicious that he might have his own personal bias on the issue. Such huge scale ignorance in his part must have a reason which is invisible to many us. Ignoring such a known, proven fact that film creates illusion is an unforgivable mistake for a philosopher. Not only film creates illusion but TV brainwashes masses as well. Not seeing this carries an agenda along the way, and it is disturbing for many people. Conspiracy of ruling classes must be exposed by philosophers, and must not be hidden from public.
I talk about these issues as well because philosophy is related to everything. Everything is related, especially the subject of whether TV creates illusions in the minds of viewers. Bias of Curie is pretty much exposed itself in the next paragraph, so I will take it as it is. Here what Curie says about examples of people react movies as if they are real; “There are celebrated cases of viewers reacting to a movie as if they were in the presence of the thing it depicts, though whether these cases belong to the history or merely to the folklore of cinema I do not know. It is said, for example, that in 1895 a Parisian audience fled in terror during the showing of a film by the Lumiere brothers which depicted the arrival of a train. If it really happened, this is to be explained in terms of the unfamiliarity of the medium to that audience; it sheds no light on our standard and intended response to cinematic fictions. The case is also not an example of the audience reacting to fictional events as if they were real; the film really showed the arrival of a train. Examples of this kind cannot be used to support any general hypothesis about the deceptive powers of cinema, especially when it is fictional cinema at issue.”(Curie, 24-25) I just want to take your attention to the last sentence where he says it cannot be used to support any general hypothesis about the deceptive power of cinema. It certainly reveals the power of reality and deception of cinema. If I am not mistaken, video of this experiment shows what happens clearly. Similar experiments can be performed with similar accuracy as well. We all know what kind of reactions people give to horror movies in theatres, for example.
Curie suggests; “The reactions I have described as lacking on the part of the normal film viewer are reactions of behavior; I said that people watching movies do not behave like people who believe in the reality of the fictions they are watching.” (Curie, 25) He is talking about immediate reaction and behavior. Film modifies behavior because it functions as propaganda. Entire populations’ beliefs and behaviors can be modified by movies. It has been used for this purpose, and it is still being used. For example, in current post 9/11 America, even the most respected institutions such as CSPAN, NPR or UC Berkeley are very careful about not to put images of highly intelligent and educated Muslims on screens.
They are more willing to use cartoonish images of typical Muslims playing their parts in ruling class agenda. They simply censor images, or turn their camera to somewhere else whenever a Muslim with a sexy American accent start to make highly intelligent comments or start to ask highly critical questions outside the box of pre-designed Muslim image. They simply don’t want to project images of intelligent, sexy, determined Muslims with American accent on the screen. The official propaganda requires them to reflect only cartoonish images of Muslims, looking ugly, desperate, and unintelligent.
I personally caught too many of these happenings on these supposedly respected TV channels. Images of beautiful, intelligent, highly educated Muslims with beautiful accents and voices were simply censored live in front of my eyes. The cartoonish ones that served the interest of power were broadcasted along with the images of other ugly and old people. You watch a stupid, old and ugly person asking irrelevant question for minutes, and then they don’t even let intelligent and attractive Muslims appear on TV for a couple of seconds. If you are lucky, you see these images that honor Muslims and make them proud for a couple of seconds.
What Edward Said talked about when he explained Orientalism is really a conscious act of people of power. It serves the power. Knowledge and images are being created to serve the power. In shaping the hearts and mind of people, TV is the most powerful tool along with education. In such a controlled and manufactured environment, knowledge serves interest and truth is upside down. That is how killing and stealing became democracy and human rights. That is how destroying countries became nation building. That is how wiping out cultures and civilizations became protecting liberty. That is how assassinating and executing leaders became bringing down the dictator. That is how bombing became democracy.
The perfect tool of manipulation and propaganda, the magic box, TV became widely available to bury people in illusions and delusions. Curie does not believe film can create false beliefs and futile behaviors in people. He writes; “Similarly, there is very little evidence from behavior that film viewers believe in the fictions they see. Explanations of our responses to cinematic fictions in terms of belief work only so long as we do not take the connection between belief and behavior seriously.” (Curie, 25) As I discussed before, 9/11 was a fiction and it was staged very carefully. We didn’t know if planes were converted to drones, if Bin Laden still worked for the CIA, if the idea was planted and made operational by western intelligence agents in these terror organizations, if the buildings were demolished using controlled demolitions, if thermite was used to melt steel structures, if the buildings collapsed in free fall speed without encountering any resistance from steel structures, if molten steel flowing like a river is reported in Ground Zero, if explosions were reported by first responders, if any countdown was reported before building 7 collapsed, and if any explosion that can wipe out entire floor under people’s feet was reported before any collapse occurred. What we see on TV can greatly affect the world views and belief systems we have, as we witnesses after 9/11.
Despite the mistakes were made along the way such as a plane was shot down, and World Trade Center building number 7 was destroyed in controlled demolition without a plane hitting it, and a witness in building 7 went through an explosion that wiped an entire floor under his feet before either Twin Tower collapsed, and many other evidence that surfaced, despite all that, most people chose to believe official explanations because TV said so. TV aired it live and even a journalist reported the collapse of building 7 before it really collapsed. TV, local and international, around the world and around the country did its job.
A ruling class conspiracy of cleaning the map after collapse of Soviet Union went unnoticed by most people in the United States. Fake War on Terror is going on in an Orwellian manner both inside and outside the borders of the United States without a real objection from the public. People with intelligent can easily see the real agenda behind these things, but they are hypnotized so they can’t see. What happened to those westerners who used to travel around Middle East and talking about the hospitality they received? Some people changed the landscape and engineered conflict in Middle East. They used the Weapon of Mass Deception.
Curie keeps making the same point and he makes another similar example, this time with a monster. He suggests again if illusionism is correct than people should run away from theatre when they see a monster on screen. In reality people give many reactions to what they see on screen. They get false beliefs, modify their behaviors, and engage in lunatic actions due to the psychological effects of movies they see.
Film experience can be like dreaming for a child. Experience changes from person to person. Age, experience, education, IQ, intelligence, culture, character, illiteracy, ignorance, and sex matters for how movie is interpreted by a person. People can find themselves lost in a dream state. Kids especially, can turn into movie characters with some help from costume stores. Babies can take it as dream. It might happen. Experience in cinema parallels experience of dreaming. It becomes dark, and images start flowing through our heads. We can fall asleep and start dreaming about the same movie in our dreams. It might happen. You can find yourself running away from these monsters you see on screen, in your actual dream.
We react in movies as we react in our dreams. People struggle with some bad nightmares as they struggle thorough in horror movies. Movies put people on dream state all the time. People sometimes are so hypnotized that they won’t realize what is really going on in their actual surroundings. This gives a great opportunity to kids, so they can make jokes and scare the hell out of their parents or siblings by catching them off guard in this dream state.
This is really going deep into philosophy of mind. Films therefore movies, and TV have great effects on minds of people. Many nations without realizing how deeply hypnotized they are, wondering what happened to their dreams of independence and prosperity. Mass Media is certainly guilty of many wrong doings, engineering psychology and character of many nations. Americans are the ones who are duped the most, because the real game is about controlling American people and about using them for the agenda.
The most controlled and enslaved people are American people. It must be the legacy of slavery, racism and class structure. 90% are total wage slaves, and 50% are real slaves without right to dignity, justice, and prosperity. Buried in lies, the country is going for social and economic destruction. Neoliberal economic system, exploitation, and dictatorship of the ruling elite came to America, all with the help of TV. TV was such a powerful tool that ruling classes had no choice but to utilize it. It hit historic success with staged 9/11 terrorist events and the so called war on terror. A close look at any truthful information portal would reveal what really is going on behind the scenes and behind the screens.
Only with the emergence of the internet and decentralization of film making we have a chance of building free societies from scratch. Unless control over alternative media fails, we wouldn’t be able to achieve that goal. Ruling classes mimic alternative media and independent resources so they can steer it in their advantage. Kony 2012 and Nigerian Girls are great examples of this increasing corporate control over the floor on the internet and in social media. We need to go and find that individual who tells the truth to rest of us, in order make progress out of internet.
Strong version of Illusionism Curie has been arguing against suggests that; “…film viewers are systematically caused to have false beliefs.” (Curie, 28) False beliefs human kind holds are caused by screens. TV is mostly responsible for the crime in today’s society. It replaced the artists, religious leaders, and nobles of the ancient history. It is the most important tool in the toolbox of the ruling elite. It is a tool to create false beliefs. Curie calls this assumption Cognitive Illusionism; “I called the view that film induces false beliefs Cognitive Illusionism.” (Curie, 28)
Curie tries to define a weaker version of Illusionism. He hopes to beat Illusionism easier by this way; by attacking Perceptual Illusionism instead. He defines Perceptual Illusion as; “It is a common feature of the many kinds of visual illusions that they are, in Zenon Pylysyn’s phrase, “cognitively impenetrable”: belief doesn’t make any difference to the way the illusory phenomenon look. An illusion of this kind occurs when experience represents the world as being a certain way, when in fact it is not that way and the subject does not believe it to be that way. My experience of the two lines may represent the two lines as being unequal length, even though I know this experience misrepresents the relation between the lines.” (Curie, 29) Currie explains it as a cognitively impenetrable illusion. It is narrower than Cognitive Illusion. Beliefs don’t play a role in this kind of illusion according to Curie’s assumptions. Curie’s example is a great simplification of Perceptual Illusion. Perceptual Illusions can be more complicated. Perception is also based on beliefs and preconditions. We can see different things by looking at the same thing because things have different meanings according to our different experiences and histories.
Curie believes his past arguments are ineffective against Perceptual Illusionism; “My arguments so far presented against Illusionism are ineffective against Perceptual Illusionism because they are designed to show we lack the belief necessary to underwrite the claim of Cognitive Illusionism.” (Curie, 29) We do have the beliefs that feed illusionism further. It is like a cycle feeding itself. Illusionism can bring more false beliefs, and as a result, beliefs can affect our perception. Beliefs can easily cause Perceptual Illusion as well. When people are conditioned to have false beliefs based on false information, because of these false beliefs, every time they are exposed to the material they would have illusions and they would never see the truth even though the truth is in front of their eyes.
9/11 is a great example of this. Illusions created false beliefs, and false beliefs helped further illusions to be easily absorbed by viewers. 9/11 events were illusions, what happened was a military and intelligence operations. 9/11 created false beliefs about the enemy, war and terror. Because of these false beliefs in minds of people, further illusions were enforced easily. War on Terror for example, is an illusion, and it is reinforced by the false belief about 9/11 story. Public can easily fooled into this illusion managed by mass media, military and intelligence agencies because they already have this false belief in their minds.
It was planted there by TV. TV was film. Film was illusion. What really happened was an intelligence operation. What people saw was Muslims attacked freedom. But, the alleged organization was created by CIA. These kinds of organizations were always under the control and surveillance of western intelligence agencies long before 9/11. Susan Lindauer clearly exposed the calculations made behind the screens that were invisible to the viewers at that time. Yes, Perceptual Illusion supports the stronger version Cognitive Illusionism. Cognitive Illusionism can lead to total illusion. What is happening after 9/11 is a massive Cognitive Illusion that is kept alive by ongoing feedback from mass media. TV creates Cognitive Illusions.
Perceptual Illusion is a technical part of movie making. It happens all the time. It leads to Cognitive Illusion eventually. Curie realized that Perceptual Illusionism can be very difficult to beat. He will try nonetheless; “There has been a tendency to assume that the (alleged) truth of Perceptual Illusionism somehow supports the claim of Cognitive Illusionism. Perhaps Perceptual Illusionism is the Trojan horse by means of which advocates of Cognitive Illusionism about film hope to gain their victory. It needs to be said, therefore, that Perceptual Illusionism, even if true, does not in itself provide an argument for Cognitive Illusionism, though it might do so in conjunction with other premises. It is not essential to my opposition to Cognitive Illusionism that I oppose Perceptual Illusionism as well. Nonetheless, I do oppose Perceptual Illusionism. I do not claim to be able to refute it; at most I shall sow the seeds of doubt about it.” (Curie, 30)
Caring Curie cares too much about beating Illusionism. He is obsessed about refuting Perceptual Illusionism as well, so he can sow the seeds of destruction. Well Curie, what you sow is what you get. Curie’s insanity can’t be cured. He is self-destructive. He is the end in himself.
The pictures which film employs are not real. Neither images nor colors film employs are real. It is a product of the mind. Colors are in the mind. Colors are information about the surface of the object. Directors manipulate colors in films to manipulate emotions of the viewers. Colors have meanings and information in nature, but colors can be manipulated in movies and can be part of the illusion film represents. Colors are response dependent because they are generated in the mind. Paintings are not real either. Colors on a painting represent artist’s interpretation of what is real or what is beautiful. It is not either or situation, either cognitive illusion or perceptual, both could be happening at the same time, and there are degrees of illusion. I will take a paragraph out of Curie’s text to further discuss these issues. You will notice that not only I disagree with Curie, but also Curie and I have almost opposite ideas on the issue of the reality of cinematic images.
“Some philosophers think generally that colors are “not really there” on a surface, and that when our experience represents an object or surface as having a certain color we are thereby subject to an illusion, because there are no colors to be there. It would be a distraction to get deeply involved in this dispute here, we are after all trying to see whether there are special problems associated with the idea of cinematic images. We could proceed simply by ignoring ontological issues about color altogether and simply assume that colors, whatever they are, are real things. However, it will be useful to say something general about the nature of color, for what I say about that will be helpful when we consider the nature of cinematic movement. I shall argue that cinematic images are real in just the sense colors are real, so we had better establish what this sense is.” (Curie, P. 31)
Curie is wrong in his claim. Cinematic images are not real in just the sense colors are not real. Nature of color is problematic, and it is response dependent. Colors nonetheless carry information about surrounding. Cinematic images manipulate colors as well. Color is a good example of how human mind can be manipulated. There is a degree of reality, and colors are not the most real things in the world. Colors reveal how human mind works. It is like a simulation machine, and if you feed false signals into this machine, it will simulate differently. Signals carry information simulation operates on and creates meaning on. False signals lead to false reality and false consciousness. Colors have real, emotional and deep meanings for us. The way film plays with color is a strong example of how film manipulates emotions. In the next paragraph I want to discuss, Curie gets closer to the idea that there are problems with colors, and especially in movies. I will take the parts of the paragraph I want to comment on.
“In order to establish the reality of cinematic images, it is not sufficient to establish the reality of colors in general, for cinematic images might constitute a special case where there appear to be colors but really are not. And there does seem to be a difference between the image on the cinema screen and that on the painting…These requirements make the colors of the screen more extrinsic than the colors of the painting, for they depend not just on our capacity as observers to respond to them in a certain way, but on the presence and activation of all the relevant cinematic technology. The colors on the screen are, we may say, extrinsically sustained, while those of the painting are intrinsically sustained – what sustains them is the condition of the canvas itself. Once again, we should not treat this as grounds for denying that the colors we see are colors on the screen. All color is extrinsic to the extent of being response dependent. There is no such thing as absolutely intrinsic color. It is just that the colors on the screen are extrinsic to a greater degree than are the colors on the canvas.” (Curie, 32-33)
Here Curie accepts there is a degree of reality in terms of nature of color. There are more intrinsic colors than others as he puts it. Nature of color teaches us what illusion is. Some colors are more natural and real than others. Some colors provide real information about our surrounding. Colors in movies, on the other hand, can be manipulated to an extent that they do not reflect reality anymore. Special effects and other techniques can be used to alter the natural colors of the environment. In that case the connection between reality and the mind is cut, and the color does not provide natural and truthful information anymore.
On the motion of images Curie concludes that there is no illusion of movement in cinema; there is real movement, really perceived. Curie arrives at this conclusion after he brings some of the best examples of opposite ideas of his view. I will take most of his paragraph to introduce some of the best ideas on the subject one can come up with.
“…There is a widely held belief that this movement is illusory. Speaking of the appearance of movement in film, Hugo Munsterberg said, “We do not see the objective reality, but a product of our mind which binds the pictures together.” And Francis Sparshott writes that “a film is a series of motionless images projected onto a screen so fast as to create in the mind of anyone watching the screen an impression of continuous motion” – an impression Sparshott goes on to call “the basic illusion of motion”. I believe this plausible view to be false. There is no illusion of movement in cinema; there is real movement, really perceived.” (Curie, P.34)
Curie believes if you reject the reality of movement, you must reject the reality of the image as well. I do reject both. It is easier to see the movement is illusion because the mechanism of film is so obviously illusory. Once you see this illusion of movement, the reality of entire picture comes under question. The movement is obviously illusion therefore the entire movie and the pictures must be illusion as well.
In another interesting paragraph Curie accepts cinematic motion is only incidentally a cognitive illusion. He writes; “If cinematic motion is illusory, then it is essentially a perceptual illusion and only incidentally a cognitive one.” (Curie, p.35) I believe both perceptual illusion as a result of technical aspect, and cognitive illusion as a result of psychological aspect are part of the illusion film provides. I delved deep into these philosophical points in my former work “Curing Curie”. Curie is careful about not to make utilitarian argument on reality of movement, despite the urge he feels deep inside to make the argument. He writes; “I shall not, therefore, be arguing for the reality of the movement of cinematic images simply on the grounds that it is useful for us to think and speak as if there really were such movement, though the usefulness of this way of thinking and speaking is certainly why we are interested in whether this kind of movement is real.” (Curie, p.37-38)
In the next paragraph Curie makes the most childish argument in the history of philosophy of film by playing the lawyer and declaring that the burden of proof in on the opposite side of the argument. It doesn’t make any philosophical sense because we don’t do philosophy to place the burden of proof on the other side, but we do it because we pursue the truth whatever it may be. We place the burden on ourselves in order to question and discover, because philosophy is love of truth and love of knowledge. Philosophers are people of ideas who like the challenge and who like to defend their ideas from questions. They like the questions because it helps them to inquire further. Philosophers don’t place the burden of proof on someone else to avoid careful scrutiny of their point of view. Philosophers place the burden of proof on themselves to seek truth. Philosophy is not a search and destroy mission which philosophers search ideas just to try to destroy these ideas and to place burden of proof on the opposite ideas. Both ideas and both sides should be treated equally and should go under equal scrutiny in Philosophy. Curie in his childish argument exposes the failure of Gregorian approach to Philosophy of Film.
Curie keeps making failed arguments until the end of this chapter. His recorded sound argument is a failure as well because it is illusory like cinematic images. It is not real when you hear recorded sounds of bees buzzing around because there are no bees buzzing around. It is an illusion. His normal people argument is also a shame for philosophy. His argument goes like if normal people under normal circumstances believe in this than this must be real. No, normal people under normal circumstances can be victims of illusions together. This is why philosophy is so important; to enlighten masses and to get them out of illusion. As opposed to what Curie believes, basic mechanism of cinema is based on illusion, and it certainly functions to produce cognitive illusions. There is a lesson we need to take out of Philosophy of Film. As in Plato’s Cave Analogy and in the Matrix Trilogy, we see this mechanism of illusion human mind is susceptible to. If human mind is susceptible to illusion, even what we think real might be an illusion. The life might be a simulation. If you consider even atoms are mostly an empty space, and the matter comes into existence as a result of magnetic powers, we are like ghosts, and the universe is like a hologram. The life is like a simulation, and our brains are like simulation machines.
There are big lessons we need to learn from Philosophy of Film, but we first need to look at it carefully to avoid falling into traps. We may be like spirits in existence. We should keep that in mind when someone tells us that we are just bunch of emotional and irrational monkeys jumping around and making noises. When agent Smith told Morpheus that humans are like parasites on this planet, multiplying like bacteria, causing a disease, machines had already been building armies to exterminate human kind. The most irrational response the Architect could get from Neo saved the day for humanity. We might, after all, be in the image of God, displaying all these irrational qualities, such as courage, anger, and love.
Atalay Osmanoglu holds Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology degrees.
Image and Mind; Gregory Currie; (Cambridge UP); Chapter 1: The myth of illusion; P. (19-47)
Atalay Osmanoglu holds Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology degrees.