Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Problem with Memory 6: Rashomon's Truth, Ego and Cyberethics

Rashomon (1950) film still. Image Source: A Potpourri of Vestiges.

If there is one mantra for good or ill of the new Millennium, it is that truth is relative and subjective. There is no better prescient illustration of this point than the great Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa, Rashomon (1950). The movie features different characters giving contradictory accounts of a rape and murder.

A Potpourri of Vestiges explains Rashomon's underlying revelation about the human psyche that any recollected 'truth' is a function of ego; this film concerns:
the unending desire of humans to placate their insatiable egos. This manipulation of facts has no limits and entirely depends upon the skill of imaginative improvisation of the individual along with his level of comfort at trickery. The ability to misinterpret comes naturally to the humans as an obvious tool to counter the adversities of life, and perhaps that's what makes it indispensable. As a direct consequence of contrivance, the concept of truth no longer remains universal but becomes rather subjective and a matter of individualistic perception. ... Rashomon is ingenious as its actual motive has nothing to do with the revelation of truth for verity is merely a matter of perception. On the contrary, Rashomon propounds to highlight the discrepancies among the different versions as a medium to depict the irrational complexities associated with the human psyche. Vintage Rashomon, such effect of the subjectivity of perception on recollection in the modern day parlance is more commonly known as The Rashomon Effect.
With the film's bleak conclusion, there is no moral objective standpoint possible. Any perception of an objective moral standpoint is in fact subjective - and nearly infinitely variable and exploitable.  The only boundaries are those imposed by ego, when it cannot bear to fabricate perception of the truth past certain points.

In other words, truth (and any correlation truth may have to morality) jointly depend on the functioning spectrums of private egotisms.  Perhaps that observation applies to the evolution of Cyberethics. The expansion of social networks, and our engagement with the Web in general, depend largely on how much we are willing to let the Internet build our social identities and realities.

See my earlier posts on Kurosawa here and here.

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