The semi-documentary film Jim & Andy poses some intriguing thoughts on the nature of identity and how this is constructed by each of us over time.
J&A is about what went on behind the making of the Man in the Moon, a movie about Andy Kaufman, played by Jim Carrey. The twist is that when he was making Man in the Moon, Jim Carry pretended he was possessed by Andy Kaufman both on and off the set much to the chagrin, discomfort and plain annoyance of folks that just wanted to get the movie done. This led to a lot of tomfoolery and major prankage as one could imagine – Jim C seemed like he had the time of this life, others not so much.
So here we have a documentary about actor who is (1) playing an actor in a movie and (2) pretending to be the latter actor in real life. Meanwhile, (3) the actor is also (3) acting his public persona. Here is how I see it:
Carrey proves himself a surprisingly thoughtful and and intriguing interviewee, interspersed in between odd takes of him on set becoming Andy Kaufman. These layers of identity, and of assuming identity, provoke uncomfortable thoughts as to one’s own origin story, and subsequent accretion of personality. It seems Carrey has done some considerable thinking about how descriptors like religion, nation, gender, race, etc. are identity-constructs, and perhaps worthy of further examination. Take nationality for example, which is a fundamental axiom for most, but technically assigned by where lines have been arbitrary drawn on a map…
Carrey seems distant and far away now, having denounced or disassociated all the anchors that tethered him to his old identity, yet finding himself still standing, a contemplative man in the moon.
It’s been a while! I’m backdating a few Simon & Finn’s from way back in November. The following cartoon accompanied the print article on “Embracing Imperfection: Plato and Nussbaum on Love” (Lillian Wilde, Issue 122 Philosophy Now).
To read the article, please visit: https://philosophynow.org/issues/122/Embracing_Imperfection_Plato_vs_Nussbaum_On_Love
The following cartoon accompanied the print article on “The Integrated Information Theory of Consciousness”, or ITT (Dr. H. Morch, Issue 121 Philosophy Now). To wit, “IIT is now one of the leading theories of consciousness in neuroscience” and is linked to the concept of integrated information, denoted by a mathematical quantity called Φ (‘phi’).
As per the article, “Systems with a low Φ have a small amount of consciousness – they only have very simple and rudimentary experiences. Systems with zero Φ are not conscious at all. [This implies that] IIT has radical implications. If IIT is true, we could in principle build a ‘consciousness-meter’ that tells us whether any system is conscious, and to what level: from comatose patients to infants; from simple animals and plants to robots and next generation AI.”
Check out the (radical theory!) article and Philosophy Now’s fantastic new website: https://philosophynow.org/issues/121/The_Integrated_Information_Theory_of_Consciousness
Also, see the following WIRED interview (and quote) with Christof Koch: https://www.wired.com/2013/11/christof-koch-panpsychism-consciousness/
Issue 120 of Philosophy Now is all about Bertrand Russell; who wouldn’t jump at the chance to illustrate that! The following cartoon accompanied an article “The Passionate Bertrand Russell” by Peter Stone. For more BR as seen through the eyes of Ernie, feel free to visit Ernie & The Conquest of Happiness.
Have you heard of pygs? Me neither, until I came across a recent article which hypothesized their creation. A pyg (an imaginary thing at this point), is a pig that has been genetically modified to be less intelligent. The author of the piece, and the originator of the idea, poses the controversial suggestion that pygs, being less intelligent, would also supposedly feel less pain (due to their decreased intelligence – but I can’t really see how intelligence has anything to do with pain, or moreover, how one really measures intelligence.. but that’s a whole other kettle of fysh). Anyway, this muted pain “attribute” would help render pygs more appropriate for eating purposes… a.k.a make us feel better about the whole thing.
The following accompanied the print article of “What are Human Rights” by Tim Dare (Issue #118, Philosophy Now). The piece discusses how far human rights claims can stretch as an outcome of social axioms & varied definitions, for example whether we consider rights as “right-based claims” or rights that exist simply by virtue of being human. It’s more complicated than one would think…
Article penned by Tim Dare, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
The following accompanied the print article of “Philosophy for the Brave” by Dahlian Kirby (Issue #117, Philosophy Now). The author of this article introduces the benefit of existential counselling in what turns out to be quite a sensitively written piece. Article and cartoon link below.
Online cartoon: https://philosophynow.org/issues/117/Simon_and_Finn
The following accompanied the print version of: What would George Bataille Do? by Alexandra Tzirkoti (Issue #116, Philosophy Now). The article itself is a nice tongue-in-cheek intro to the thinking of a rather controversial figure (link below).https://philosophynow.org/issues/116/What_Would_Georges_Bataille_Do