Free Will, Vash, The Shining, In Time, Derby Derby Duplicity

One thing I didn’t expect to happen last week was engaging in philosophical discourse in my sleep. The title of this post may have made you think that I left a ‘y’ off the end, and actually meant to write about the film ‘Free Willy’ in this post. Please understand that this recollection isn’t verbatim. I’ve never been good at remembering my dreams, but I remembered the gist of this one.

The topic was simple enough – free will.

What vague memory I have of the dream itself involves me sitting at a brown table with three other people in a white room. Their faces are not instantly recognisable or familiar to me, so they’re kind of disfigured, but not in a scary way because I never felt ill at ease or scared during this dream. Oddly enough, though, I didn’t feel happy either. What I do know is that I could communicate with these people clearly and understand exactly what they were asking me.

Nondescript person asks the first question. “What is free will?”

I respond that true free will is choice without regard for the consequences of one’s actions.

Uncharacteristic person asks, “Then why doesn’t everyone do whatever they want?”

Because we are all conditioned, to some extent, to believe in a higher cause – not necessarily in a theological sense – or accept that something out there is greater than our own desires. The subjugation of necessity in order to survive.

The third person with odd lips was confused by my answers. “Then how can free will have any bearing on anything at all? Isn’t the point of  free will that you have the right to do as you please?”

Essentially, yes. However, we all have obligations that we have to adhere to in order to survive in this world, this reality. Duty to an employer so that you can purchase necessities in order to sustain yourself. Duty to a family, if you have one. There’s a logical flow to it. First, you accept that free will exists. Then you realise that limitations are imposed on your ability to express free will. However, these limitations are of an individualised nature – odds are most people will choose to do something if they want to anyway, so why bother querying whether or not their choice is of their own will or if they’re conditioned to make such a choice – for it is in the act of making a choice that our own expressions of free will are judged. How others perceive our choices, how others respond to our choices and the extent to which we care what others think. The act of making a psychological contract with yourself should never be underestimated.

And now…

For the record, I have no idea why my head spewed all that out in my sleep. I can plausibly attribute it, however, to the fact that I had that dream the very same night that I had handed in my last piece of coursework. My own sense of freedom spilled out into my unconscious like dropping a plate of spaghetti and meatballs onto a plush beige carpet – Oh, Mr. Hart! – indeed.

But then…

My cat Vash has undergone a rough few months since he… A) was hit by a car, B) got his leg caught in a drain or C) fly-kicked a potential home invader so hard in the face ..and broke his leg in four places. He is now fully healed. The other day he was running around just because he could, pretty much. This warms the cockles of my heart so much. So very, very much. Vash also has a habit of sleeping on me while I try to use the laptop, which is happening right now. Now he’s left me to chase a fly around the house by meowing at it in an effort to communicate with it that he would very much like to eat it. A cat’s love is so fickle.

All work and no play makes Paul a dull boy.

I re-watched The Shining for the first time in ages. I’d forgotten what a brilliant film it is. My younger brother had never seen it before, and agreed that it was a great film. Everything about the film works. I thought about it in relation to the job that I do and felt that the omnipresent fear-inducing soundtrack would make it near-impossible to convey the sense of dread and suspense that flows throughout the film via captions. Too many (EERIE MUSIC) and (SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC) followed by (SUSPENSEFUL MUSIC CRESCENDOS)  would just not do the film justice. From the opening of the film, you’re watching a yellow VW beetle drive up a mountain with intense nail-biting music that makes you feel like something is going to jump out of the mountain and stab the VW in the heart. Better yet, the mountain reveals that is actually has a face and swallows the VW whole.

I only just realised that I could ‘justify all’ in these posts. This is facepalm worthy.

In Time

The new film from Andrew Nicoll (Gattaca, Lord of War) had my interest piqued after watching the trailer. The concept of the film is simple enough, time becomes currency and once people turn 25, they have a year to live. More time can be earned by working, but the rise of the cost of living makes it harder and harder for the lower classes to survive and the gap between the affluent and poor continues to widen. As one character in the film suggests, it’s essentially ‘Darwinian Capitalism’.

The philosophical and political implications of the film far outweigh the execution of the film. The acting is less than impressive at times, although Justin Timberlake and Cillian Murphy play their parts well and basically carry the film. The plot has a few holes here and there, including a very implicitly written first act, but otherwise it does exactly what it needs to do. The pacing? Well, it’s kind of ironic when a film about the preciousness of time somehow manages to make a 1 hour, 40 minute runtime seem 20 minutes too long. The premise could easily be revisited and repackaged as a real-time thriller and work just as well on its own.

These points aside, the more I’ve thought about the film, the more I’ve enjoyed breaking down the concepts and theories presented. And talk about a culturally coincidental release if there ever was one, this film unintentionally relates to part of what the Occupy <insert word here> movement is about.

I gladly recommend this film to anyone who likes good-looking people and sci-fi that makes you think. That’s about as broad an audience one could hope for. Worry less about what you’re seeing, worry more about what the film is saying.

So, like…

Having no more coursework to do and receiving back more marks over the course of last week leaves me sitting so pretty for some exams that I could write responses in crayon and draw pictures of unicorns and still achieve a passing grade. This means that I now have more spare time on my hands to study for exams. I’ve noticed, though, that when I’m out and about amongst friends that I feel as if I have idle hands and am doing things like peeling labels off beer bottles, scratching/tapping and fidgeting. I’ve yet to adapt to the idea of a more relaxed pace of life.

Last week was also spent catching up with some dear friends of mine, some of which I haven’t seen since my birthday celebrations. Good times were had and a birthday gift of epic proportions was bestowed upon one of them. This particular friend loves his tea. So, like any decent friend would, I ventured into T2 to purchase him a joint birthday gift from three of his nearest and dearest. Nine tea sampler? Perfect. But, you see, my gift plans were far more devious than that. When I walked into T2 I have to say I was quite overwhelmed with the amount of tea (duh!) and randomness of placement of objects within the store. It’s kind of like browsing curious wank on each individual shelf because none of it seems to relate. But as soon as I found a store attendant, I made a statement that was very clear.

I have a budget of X dollars. My friend loves his tea, but I kind of want to make this gift as awkward as possible.

Well, a pink tea-for-one set did the trick just fine. I also have photographic evidence that the set has been used.

Almost forgot about roller derby! The last VRDL bout for the year. There’s another international bout happening towards the end of November if anyone is keen. (LINKAGE)

When I arrived late thanks to Melbourne’s inability to schedule dual events at the one location, so much so that I parked two blocks away from the venue and walked, in the first bout the Dolls were down at half-time to the Bloody Marys. This struck me as odd.

The second half, though, was a Dolls whitewash. They turned a 10-point deficit into a 110-point victory.

The main event, however, was the Dead Ringer Rosies versus the Toxic Avengers. The Toxic Avengers hadn’t won a game this season, but I had a feeling they would come out with a chip on their shoulder. Sure enough they did and came away with an impressive victory. Shout out to Bella Dubois for some seriously awesome blocking.

Back to Melbourne to close this thing out. Shutting down most of a major road to facilitate an event doesn’t actually help anyone or anything. What it does, however, is create a ridiculous amount of car and foot traffic within an expanded radius because people are usually trying to get somewhere when they decide to drive a car. It’s not like there were a whole random bunch of people who just decided to go out for a drive around the Melbourne Showgrounds on Saturday evening. Furthermore, when you restrict access of ease for other events that are taking place alongside the one you’re making concessions for, it kind of messes things up for more people than it should. And then you end up with a whole bunch of pissed off people heading towards a racecourse where alcohol is easy to acquire. That doesn’t sound like a good equation to me and certainly doesn’t make walking to a venue any safer. In future, Melbourne – or the event planners, whichever is to blame – get your shit together.

2 Replies to “Free Will, Vash, The Shining, In Time, Derby Derby Duplicity”

    1. Who you kidding? In many jams it seemed like you were the only blocker out there. At least, the only one trying to communicate.

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