Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

After watching this movie, I asked my self the seemingly simple question: If I could erase memories that caused pain,would I do it? Honestly after watching the movie, I can't say I would. If your were to ask me this question before I watched this movie, I would have an infinitely long list of memories of pain that I would love to erase. I have come to the realization why the memories of pain are so important. Those memories of pain no matter how painful they are teach us a lesson, makes us stronger, and makes us wiser. The memories of pain provides us with the ability to judge what is pleasurable. Without darkness you are unable to appreciate light the same goes with pain and pleasure, without pain you are unable to appreciate pleasure. Reliving or reprogramming our experiences and thus our memory may not work as the movie clearly shows us- customers would come in and erase a memory many times but somehow,someway it always seem to happen the same way.

Susan Sontag's: Regarding the Pain of Others

I really enjoyed reading this book. Sontag explores how images of war affect people. Do these images inspire us to take action in stopping war or not? In the beginning of her book, Sontag praises the power of photos/images in saying that they are objective and have a point of view. Later on, she describes incidents where photographers have staged photographs so that they have a certain look and affect. To often than not I am moved by the images of war or other atrocities but after reading Sontag's book, I have become more critical of photographs of war. Photographs are very powerful tools used to show the atrocities of war but at the same time they can also be powerful weapons if they they are staged. At one point Sontag asserts that altering images and staging them for the camera seems to be decreasing but i feel as though the opposite is true.The power that a photograph holds is that it does not have to be taken by a well-trained photographer and can still be credible or in light of the previous, even more credible.

Something else I found interesting was how viewing images of war changed depending if the war was something that was near or far. Those who are viewing images of war that are far away and not affecting them are prone to "sympathize' by looking at the image and feeling a sense of sorrow and then moving on if you will. However, when the war or atrocity is happening at home, they are more prone to have a stronger reaction than just acknowlegement. And sometimes may find it hard to look at these images. I belive it is human nature to have a stronger reaction to things that have a possibility of affecting us as oppose to things that do not have that possibility. So when viewing images of war in far away places one can sympathize with the suffering or just be amazed/intrigued by the carnage(aided by the constant bombardment of the images war,crime, and carnage).

The only criticism I have for Sontag is that she does not include any of the photographs she uses as examples and I feel as though it would have definitely helped to have them so that we can see the connections she is making.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pain: The Science of Suffering

I was fascinated by how comprehensive the concept of pain is. The first couple of chapters really didn't interest me but the others that followed really sparked interest. But the one thing I found missing that I really wanted Wall to touch on more was emotional or mental pain and how that affects our perception of physical pain. We all experience pain but according to Wall, our pereception and intesensity of pain differs by many factors that are not genetic or physical if you will. Wall talks about this in postoperative pain and how medical personell need to realize that there is no such a thing as "standard pain" and must treat each patient indivually when it comes to pain. The problem with that is how exactly will medical facilities and the people that work for them apply this new way of thinking about pain. Another thing that reall caught my attention in his book is how animals below humans react to pain and the reasearch conducted. This topic should be explored more.Overall, I enjoyed the this book.