Special

Our human psyche is so difficult to understand and comprehend. This movie is about a particularly “special” human, who, after signing up for these trial drug tests for a headache problem goes crazy: he thinks he’s a superhero. To be frank, the protagonist is an absolute loner: two lame friends, no close family, no wealth, and hardly chance of progeny. He spends his time wishing he had a decent life and reading comics. Then he starts saving the world… or does he?

The protagonist, after taking these drugs, imagines himself having superpowers: he “discovers” that he can run through walls, levitate, use telekinesis, and go invisible. He then makes his own costume, gets a police radio, and goes out to save the world. He stops burglars, murderers, and muggers alike… or does he?

The beautiful thing about this movie is that you have no idea what’s real and what isn’t. The protagonist imagines he has superpowers, and sometimes we see him running through walls, while other times he’s running straight into them. Sometimes we see him tackling a person with a gun at a convenience store, and then find out there was no gun at all. Other times, we see him tackling a mugger, and he really did save a crime. Later he gets into some trouble, and ends up killing two people that tried to kill him… or does he?

The movie pretty much answers what actually happened and what didn’t by the end, although I wish it didn’t. Nevertheless, it causes us to question what we perceive versus what actually happens. After all, we can only prove our own self awareness. We also convince ourselves of things we know are untrue, or choose to forget them. Cognitive dissonance, willful blindness, self-deception, doublethink, the list goes on and on. Everyone thinks the protagonist is crazy, but he thinks everyone else is crazy. Sometimes I think that way, and everyone’s had the experience. Perhaps we aren’t the crazy ones…perhaps the protagonist had super powers all along and everyone, absolutely everyone, was being irrational instead. What’s an objective fact, anyway? They are all delivered by flawed humans with flawed eyes and ears. What we perceive and what others perceive can be so vastly different, and we need to be aware and cautious of that. Because we hardly ever do… or do we?

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War is Peace! Freedom is slavery! Ignorance is strength!: Doublethink is Everywhere

The motto in the title is a quote from 1984, a book I wrote a review on, where people are brainwashed in a totalitarian state to believe contradictory ideals with no concept of logic. The absurd reasoning of people in the book is referred to as “doublethink.”

Doublethink is an interesting concept, where people contradict themselves without realizing it. We see this every day. For example, 90 percent of Americans think that nuclear war is unwinnable, and yet 70 percent of the same data pool believe America should build more nukes (see page 12 of the link). Such logic is incoherent, and I love the quote from the Hindu epic the Mahabharata where it explains how we literally never stop to think about the fact that we could die tomorrow while people die in front of us every day.

A more relevant example is how most religious people of America find religion to be good for people and support evangelical causes while simultaneously preaching secular governance. Similarly, many in Britain are against the Sharia law courts they’ve implemented (I am too) on the grounds of secularism, while their own beloved Head of State is the head of the English Church! Or how the American PATRIOT Act is called so as if to tell Americans they should be patriotic, whilst the act itself contradicts what the original patriots fought for!

You know what else is doublethink? CVS, a drug store chain, didn’t sell the latest Rolling Stones magazine since it had the Boston Bomber on the front page “out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones,” while they didn’t hesitate to have Obama on the front page: someone who is technically a war criminal. That is doublethink, and I wish neither ever got a photo in a magazine.

Doublethink is a bit different from hypocrisy, because hypocrisy is when your actions and beliefs contradict, and you know it. Hypocrisy is probably the best adjective to describe any government or head of state. Take Prime Minister Francois Hollande, who criticized America for the NSA spying scandal despite that France (his nation) spys on its people themselves.

Religion is another place where you find a load of hypocrisy from some practitioners, if not most. On the far right, you have ultra-literalist Muslims that use scripture to defend something that the spirit of the scripture refutes. On the far left, you have people that believe in the whole nine yard of mainstream Christianity: Jesus is Jehovah in flesh and if you don’t listen to him you’ll be damned, while they themselves hardly practice! For the people that take religion “liberally”, I have a question: would Jesus act the way you do? If not, you have some serious work to do.

We live in a world of contradictions, hypocrisy, and doublethink, and we don’t even realize it sometimes. So let’s get past the incoherency. Let’s take a look at our values and beliefs and seriously consider what the hell we are doing with our lives. Let’s figure out why we contradict ourselves on a daily basis and solve that problem. Let’s fight the indoctrination and question why we spout secular dogma while being religiously conservative, or the other way around. Let’s talk to our politicians and government officials and try to figure out how to go about stopping the hypocrisy, if possible, and how to make the masses realize it. There are giant hypocrisies in our society, and I only named a few. Chances are, I’m a hypocrite myself and doublethink my thoughts without even realizing it, and I’ll be working on that like you should too.