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The faces of death

  1. Mar 2, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Note that the thread title is also the name of a series of six [or so] videos that were popular some years ago. They were nothing but videos of people and other animals being killed, and often in the most gruesome of cicumstances.

    Something that caught my attention is the idea that today, we are not only exposed to death on a scale that is orders of magnitude beyond anything most of our great-grand parents ever imagined, we also see death in a nearly infinite variety of manner not even possible. Through Sci-fi and fantasy films, we see death in ways that are as horrible as hollywood can fashion - all in magnificent detail :yuck: that is forever a part of the human psyche in a large percentage of the population, world wide.

    I wonder if this is good.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2006
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  3. Mar 2, 2006 #2

    Bystander

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    How so? Global mortality rates haven't changed, Tambora and Krakatoa match, or exceed, the Xmas '05 tsunami percentage mortalities; plague incidence and mortalities have dropped if we accept medical hype, and certainly haven't demonstrably increased.

     
  4. Mar 2, 2006 #3

    Ivan Seeking

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    I am talking about exposure through the media, and in particular as entertainment.
     
  5. Mar 2, 2006 #4

    selfAdjoint

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    Ivan consider the experience of a citizen of some small village during and after the black death, in the fourteenth century, or in the wake of one of the armies in the thirty years war, in the seventeenth century. Or get hold of a Bible and read the Lamentations of Jeremiah. People of the past didn't need to see death on TV, they had it next door.
     
  6. Mar 2, 2006 #5

    Bystander

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    Things my great grandfather could have done for entertainment: go to public executions; go to Coffeyville and have his picture taken with Dalton gang cadavers; joined posses and shot people; bought shrunken heads; cock fights; and, if we add the overseas possibilities ....

    It's "viewers' option" today --- I don't have to see it, and I don't, excepting the money I spent to see (and smell) Tut on tour --- sea level pressurization on display case seals at Denver altitude. GGF didn't always have the choice.

    "Good?" Prolly not --- but, Hollywood never has been. People used to ban books over similar arguments.
     
  7. Mar 3, 2006 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    We still experience death as did every generation - just ask any kid in East L.A.. But we have the added pleasure of watching it a thousand times over on TV and in the movies, and now in very realistic games, in addition to real life. How many of our grand parents watched as millions starve in Africa, for example. It is the saturation that comes to mind, for one, and the beyond real next. If bad science in the media is a problem that affects society, how could this not be worse?

    On a personal level, I learned long ago that once allowed into the mind, nothing can ever be taken away. For this reason I tend to avoid violent movies.
     
  8. Mar 3, 2006 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Or do we somehow thrive in the face of death; do we crave it?
     
  9. Mar 3, 2006 #8

    selfAdjoint

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    I agree that this is an experiment we're running on ourselves. Many decades back (1970s or 80s), Jerry Pournelle pointed to some research in South Africa. In the old days the Boer regime tried to keep the Republic isolated to prevent attacks on apartheit from abroad. Part of this was a denial of the kind of TV programs commonly shown in the rest of the world - basically US TV of the 1950s and 60s. Not very violent as we think of it today, but of a new level of every-day intensity compared to what went before.

    Finally under public pressure they allowed the less egregious shows to air. And Pournelle's point was that eight years after this decision, the youth crime statistics in the RSA took a big jump; enough time for a ten year old when the stuff started showing to become 18 while watching it. Pournell had other evidence of a weaker character that TV actually causes violence.

    It seems you have a double dynamic - TV and other media become steadily more violent and "cruel". And the kids today are in response to the integrated level of violence of the previous decade. Modern subtle statistics ought to be able to winkle out if there's a causal relation there.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2006
  10. Mar 3, 2006 #9
    I saw those videos when I was 10 or 11 (I think. I know I was pretty young). Pretty gruesome stuff. It can be argued that exposure isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think about the movie, "Clockwork Orange". Remember at the end, they forced the guy to sit in a chair and watch horrible images over and over with his eyelids clamped open? It was all in an effort to re-program him in a way to be sick at the sight of violence and death.

    As for me, I certainly have, thus-far in my life, avoided partaking in such activities. It sickens me as well. (all though, not physical nausia).

    Maybe we haven't been exposed to enough?
     
  11. Mar 3, 2006 #10

    Astronuc

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    No! It is not good. I don't watch horror movies, which I think are stupid (but that's me), nor do I watch movies with gratuitous violence. I have seen movies like Patton and some others in the past, but generally I don't care to watch violence.

    I have seen people dying and dead. Unless they are old and at the end of life, death is very sad, because it is a life cut short.

    I have face death myself more than a few times, and I have to say I did not, nor do I crave it. One just tries to survive at that moment - one just keeps living. Falling into unconsciousness not knowing if one will awake is a rather interesting experience.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2006
  12. Mar 3, 2006 #11

    Astronuc

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    What are you doing Today, 03:22 AM to be thinking about this?
     
  13. Mar 3, 2006 #12
    There is only one difference: these deaths were real. We don't see real death and we know it. In this way, modern violence is better because it is simulated.

    Isolationism doesn't work. We can't cut ourselves off from the world around us, or ignore things. We will confront death, probably many times in our life. It is inevitable, so we shouldn't strive to remove it from our minds. Instead, we should armor ourselves so that, surounded as we are by it its influence will not penetrate our concsious mind.
     
  14. Mar 3, 2006 #13
    The only "good" thing I can muster out of watching films of deaths and watching news footage of people dieing and so on is that these images acknowledge the potential of death and bring the spectator closer to acknowledging or "accepting" the inevitable state brought about by death.

    Some people want to kill television

    http://www.turnoffyourtv.com/

    some want to put death to death

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/3577575.stm

    Some want to watch death (some discussion about death and TV here)

    http://www.self-improvement.com/self-help/watching-death-a1863.html
     
  15. Apr 5, 2006 #14
    If you watch those 'faces of death' videos carefully, you will see that they don't actually show anyone getting killed. The same for almost all the animal ones too. It amazes me how many people will swear, after watching them, that they saw someone getting killed. I think most of the scenes were faked.
     
  16. Apr 5, 2006 #15
    It isn't good. What society is doing is teaching the new generations to be completely callous to the welfare of other people. Constant exposure to death through vioence, something that older generations were NEVER exposed to, can't be good for the human psyche.

    Saw this on the history channel or something: There was a town out west where they converted a water tower to a multiple gallows and started having lots of public hangings. Before they ended up tearing it down, the local kids started running around hanging cats. :devil:
     
  17. Apr 6, 2006 #16

    Mk

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    "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic"
    -Joseph Stalin
     
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