Sunday, March 08, 2015

Looking at the East - Philosophy & Film ( B & W celebration)

This week's philosophy session was about the Non-Western tradition and for me this area is a challenge but that is not to say it is one I think that should duck.
St. Paul's London, we all need to kick out at times

During classes last year at City Lit last year  I began to recognise that although different terms and perspectives were in action the goals and aims were broadly in line but a problem for me remains around where a philosophy becomes a religion and what we should consider legitimate areas for intervention.

The Ealing session on Philosophy took a totally different but legitimate  'tack' on the issue - we started off by looking at an excerpt from the film 'The Tokyo Story' (1953) directed by the acclaimed director Yasujirō Ozu who also had a hand in the screenplay- it was challenging to differentiate between what were the cultural differences of the film and what were solely down to the particular idiosyncrasies of this story, stylistically it was certainly different from the films that we as a group of Western people were used to.
The film by it's nature reflected change in family which undoubtedly was accelerated by the repercussions of Japan's defeat in World War Two - {you can see the film here}.

The Film was involving but we were there to talk about 'Philosophy' and after a while it was paused and we reflected on Confucianism which became dominant in China at around the time of Socrates was active in Ancient Greece.
Do we get to reflect enough?

As I looked at thoughts from the East I had not really considered Confucianism  (my error) - as a group we've perhaps overly focused on the narratives around the characters and in this case our course leader seemed to wish to steer us away from the character towards the ideas - it is true that any history is open to argument, dispute and rewriting over a period of more than two and a half centuries.

It is also worth reflection on the need for a Philosophy to be relevant  for it to resonate with the population - Confucianism is rooted in relationships  and it proclaims the importance of hierarchy and behaviour .

By contrast the so called Kyoto school in Japan offered what  many consider  something of a synthesis of East and Western thought favouring introspection - again my struggle is with what appears often to be a lack of engagement and what I feel to be a 'submission' to our (human) condition.

What do we expect ?

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