Saturday, December 5, 2015

Increasingly it seem that there is nothing straight-forward under the sun

Cowen remarks in Best movies of 2015 by Tyler Cowen that
I thought this was the worst year for movies since I have been watching them. In fact I think you could multiply this year’s good films by two and still have the worst year for movies in a long, long time. Maybe by three.
He lists the ones he has thought were adequate. Onf of which is
Red Army, a documentary about the hockey team of the Soviet Red Army, its rise and fall. Chock full of social science and public choice, I loved this movie, philosophical too, even though I am not especially interested in hockey. One of my favorite documentaries.
I draw attention to this as an example of the complexity of what attracts attention. As the barriers to accessing information, knowledge, and experiences decline, we are faced with the dilemma of increased access and static receptors. We can only absorb so much. So how do we filter out the extraneous and limit ourselves to that which is most relevant to us?

This challenge is further exacerbated by the fact that we, as individuals, are not static systems. Our interests change all the time. You can't simply design filters and walk away. The filters have to evolve. Further, we function at a concrete level (facts-are-facts) as well as at a metaphorical/abstract level. What we see on the surface is not necessarily what is going on at a deeper level.

Cowen's comment is an example of this dynamism. He has no interest in ice hockey per se but he is intensely interested in social science and public choice. The disinterest in the superficial topic of ice-hockey is superseded by the intense interest in the topics of social science and public choice which the documentary illustrate.

Not only is there nothing new under the sun, increasingly it seem that there is nothing straight-forward under the sun.

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