Posthumanist's values in worldwide movies

Autor:Claudio Pensieri - Massimiliano Vitali - Vittoradolfo Tambonee
Cargo:Institute of Philosophy of Scientific and Technological Activity - Medical Direction Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome - Institute of Philosophy of Scientific and Technological Activity
Páginas:397-412
RESUMEN

Pop-Philosophy can broadcast lots of important messages, because of its popular way to communicate with people. We can say that one of the most important media used from pop philosophy to achieve its objectives is Cinema. In 2011, 818 films were produced. In 2012, cinema admissions in the USA were 1,360 million while in Europe they were 1,190 million. For this reason we decided to test a new... (ver resumen completo)

 
EXTRACTO GRATUITO
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
397
POSTHUMANIST’S VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
VALORES POSTHUMANISTAS EN LA CINEMATOGRAFÍA
INTERNACIONAL
CLAUDIO PENSIERI*, ANDREA MASSIMILIANO VITALI**,
VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE*
Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, Via Alvaro del Portillo 21, 00128 - Rome, Italy.
*Institute of Philosophy of Scientific and Technological Activity, Email: c.pensieri@unicampus.it
**Medical Direction Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome
ABSTRACT:
Pop-Philosophy can broadcast lots of important messages, because of its popular way to communicate
with people. We can say that one of the most important media used from pop philosophy to achieve its
objectives is Cinema. In 2011, 818 films were produced. In 2012, cinema admissions in the USA were 1,360
million while in Europe they were 1,190 million. For this reason we decided to test a new methodology
in order to investigate the Campus Bio-Medico University’s students’ “perception” of Values conveyed
by films. In the first phase, we asked 296 students to tell us the titles of the films they have seen that
dealt with the disclosure of posthumanist values. From this first phase, we identified the 5 most popular
and cited films. In the second phase, we interviewed 175 students on the relationship that each of the 5
selected films had to convey the Idea of God, the Idea of Man and the Idea of Nature. The survey we carried
out, allows us to simply see the gap between the message that according to the posthumanist experts
should be transmitted in a certain direction with respect to the message received by a selected portion of
cinematographic audience.
RESUMEN:
La Pop-Filosofía puede transmitir muchos mensajes importantes, debido a su forma popular de
comunicarse con la gente. Podemos decir que uno de los medios más importantes que se utilizan en la
pop-filosofía para alcanzar sus objetivos es el cine. De hecho en 2011 se produjeron 818 películas. En USA
los ingresos del cine en el 2012 fueron 1.360 millones, mientras que en Europa fueron 1.190 millones. Por
esta razón hemos querido experimentar una nueva metodología para estudiar la “percepción” de valores
transmitidos por el cine entre los estudiantes de la Universidad Campus Bio-Médico. En la primera fase,
hemos pedido a 296 estudiantes cual fueron los títulos de las películas que han visto, que tratan sobre la
divulgación de los valores posthumanistas. A partir de esta primera fase identificamos las 5 películas más
populares y citadas. En la segunda fase entrevistamos 175 estudiantes sobre cual idea de Dios, Hombre y
Naturaleza, en su opinión, transmitían las 5 películas. Nuestro estudio indica que existe una real diferencia
entre el contenido teórico posthumanista de las mas importantes películas y lo que el estudiante de nuestra
muestra percibe.
Keywords:
Cinema,
communication, film,
medical humanities,
posthuman ethics.
Palabras clave:
Cine, comunicación,
medical humanities,
posthuman ética.
Recibido: 22/10/2013
Aceptado: 24/06/2014
Cuadernos de Bioética XXV 2014/3ª
Copyright Cuadernos de Bioética
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
398
1. Introduction
Pop-Philosophy is the transmission of philosophical
concepts through popular media such as TV, internet,
comics, etc. We developed an appropriate tool and
methodology to assess the effectiveness of Movies in
broadcasting posthumanism’s contents.
We decided to investigate, through a questionnaire
for “content analysis”, the delivery of posthumanists
values in the student population of the Campus Bio-
Medico University of Rome through a specific medium:
Film. We performed an analytical breakdown, a clas-
sification of films and the values conveyed by them,
in order to make inferences on the overall meaning of
the message, the possible effects on the recipient, in-
terests, strategies and film producers’ values. We chose
to focus our attention on a series of films that were
related to the values listed in the Italian transhumanist
manifesto1: “the lengthening of life, the slowing down
of the aging process, the strengthening of physical and
mental disabilities and able-bodied, even beyond the
limits of the current biological structure”2. In particular,
in the movies that we surveyed, we found these posthu-
manists aspects: 1. memory and physical enhancements;
2. completely modified bodies (water-breathing, fire-
resistance, empowerment,etc); 3. uploading memories
and consciousness into a computer to live as a digital life
form; 4. connecting into a neural network and living in
connection with other individuals; 5. enhancement and
6. immortality. This pilot study will allow us to have an
adequate tool for a larger scale research.
2. European and Worldwide Movie Theaters
In 2011, 818 films3 were produced and the global box
office for all films, released in each country around the
1 National Council of Italian Association of Transhumanists
(AIT) [On line publication] «Manifesto». 11/02/2008.
transumanisti.it/2_articolo.asp?id=45&nomeCat=MANIFESTO+DEI+T
RANSUMANISTI+ITALIANI > [consulted: 27/08/2013].
2 National Council of Italian Association of Transhumanists
(AIT) [On line publication] «Manifesto sintetico». 11/02/2008.
www.transumanisti.it/1.asp?idPagina=3> [consulted: 28/08/2013].
3 Motion Picture Association of America [On line publica-
tion] «Theatrical Market Statistic 2012». 21.
Resources/3037b7a4-58a2-4109-8012-58fca3abdf1b.pdf> [Consult-
ed: 21/06/13].
world, reached $34.7 billion in 20124. In 2012, the ad-
missions in the USA were 1,360 millions while in Europe
they were 1,190 million5.
We can only hypothesize the impact that the values
broadcasted by a film all over the world could have in
the population’s mind.
3. Methods
In 2013, between April and June, we interviewed 296
students at the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome
in order to investigate which films they had seen that
dealt with the disclosure of posthumanist values.
We developed our research in two phases:
Phase I: we asked the students the names of 3
films (that they had seen) that conveyed “post-
humanists” values. We submitted the question-
naire to 296 students representing the health
professions: Medicine, Nursing, Radiographers
(TRR), Food science and nutrition (SANUM) and
Biomedical engineering.
Phase II: we made analysis of the perception of
the primary message conveyed by the top 5 films
cited. We decided to use an “ad hoc” question-
naire with pre-compiled statements. In its con-
struction we considered to insert the correct mes-
sage conveyed merged with other 4 messages that
progressively diminished from the actual meaning.
In particular, our aim was to investigate 3 aspects:
the idea of Man, the idea of God and the idea of Nature
conveyed by those films.
Idea of Man: because we are talking about trans-
humanism, so the idea of “man” conveyed must
be a central point of the analysis.
Idea of God: because we believe that Posthuman-
ism is a “myth” (category of myth that refers to
the source, it has something to say about God
and besides, according to the myth of origin, it
changes the nature of God).
4 Ibid, 4.
5 Media Salles [On line publication] «European Cinema Year-
book 2012». 3-4. 2013. [Consulted: 21/06/13].
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
399
Idea of Nature: because it is necessary to inquire
if we are heading towards Pantotheism, panthe-
ism, or if they are simply praising “nature” in an
ecological point of view.
Furthermore, there is an important trend in posthu-
manism (the catastrophic one) in which Ecology plays a
very important role. But in other visions Nature is gener-
ated by God.
This research presents three important assets:
1. the characterization of the type of posthuman we
are talking about;
2. the returning themes in the movies;
3. it allows us to understand if students have un-
derstood the posthumanist main message of the
film.
4. Results
30.4% were Medical students, 18.9% Nursing stu-
dents, 19% Bio-medical engineer students and the
remaining 31.7% were other health care professions
(26.7% SANUM, 5% TRR).
126 movie titles were cited but only 19 of them had
more than 10 votes. The top 10 films rated are (tab. 1):
N. TITLE Number
of votes N. TITLE Number
of votes
1 Avatar 94 6 Inception 41
2 Limitless 82 7 Spiderman 34
3 Iron Man 78 8 Capitan
America 31
4 Twilight 52 9 In Time 29
5 Matrix 46 10 I Robot 22
Tab. 1. Film and votes.
We decided to investigate students’ perception of
the main topics delivered in the first 5 most popular
films cited.
We interviewed 175 students about the three main
Assets (Man, God and Nature) that we described above.
In order to collect data, we invited students to write
down their coherence to the claims we proposed.
Fig. 1
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
400
using the frequency percentage of messages received
by the students, we evaluate the perception of the
idea that the film wants to broadcast concerning the
three themes of this study (Man, God and Nature). The
results are compared at the end of the paragraph of
each film.
The Matrix - 1999
MAN: In The Matrix, the human being is wounded by
his own skill, by his own choices and his own scientific
progress without a healthy and ecological direction.
Man also threatened Nature, obscuring the sun and
letting the earth’s surface be dominated by “machine”
technology.
GOD: according to Irwin we think that there are nu-
merous Christian motifs in The Matrix. “Some obvious
and others quite subtle. Most clear is the theme of the
promised deliverer. In the Gospels, Jesus is the promised
Messiah, the one ‘who is to come’ (Luke 7:19). In the
film, Neo is ‘the One’, the messianic deliverer whose
Regarding the Idea of MAN, we identified the fol-
lowing sentences: man is corrupt and corruptible; man
is wounded; man is not suitable in the world; man is old
and has to be overcome; There is man and “Man”.
Regarding the Idea of GOD, we identified the fol-
lowing sentences: God is dead; God coincides with Na-
ture; God is beyond all; Through God man is redeemed;
God has nothing to do with the film.
Regarding the Idea of NATURE, we identified the fol-
lowing sentences: Nature is in danger; Nature has noth-
ing to do with the film; Nature is God; Nature defeats
man; Nature changes man.
5. Film Analysis
In the box we have reported the answer that we be-
lieve is the most adequate to describe the posthuman-
ist message transmitted by the film. In order to identify
the broadcasted posthumanist message, we referred
to the main performing studies of the selected mov-
ies. Through the following “Radar Plots”, developed by
Fig. 2
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
401
coming was foretold by the Oracle6. In a Christian vi-
sion, just as Jesus’ resurrected body was a was a "glori-
fied body" that wasn't subject to ordinary physical re-
strictions (Luke 24:31, John 20:19, John 20:26), Neo, after
his death possesses remarkable new powers following
his restoration to life7.
But Matrix is also full of different religious symbols,
for example, Neo is also like a Bodhisattva. According to
Buddhism, a bodhisattva is an enlightenment being who
has reached awakening and chooses, out of compas-
sion, to guide the others. The bodhisattva’s vow to save
creatures and to eliminate suffering is essentially what
Buddhist ethics is about.
The talent of this film lies in its syncretic use
of philosophical and religious elements from va-
rious Western and Eastern traditions. In a master-
ful way it mixes metaphors with rich references
to Christianity, Platonism, and Buddhism within a
6 Irwin, W. The Matrix and Philosophy, Perfect Bound, New
York, 2002, 111.
7 Ibid, 112.
context of contemporary cybertechnology and is
already a classic in the sci-fi genre8.
NATURE: In the Wachowski brothers’ film, the ma-
terial reality we all experience and see around us is a
virtual one, generated and coordinated by a gigantic
mega-computer to which we are all attached; when
Neo awakens into the “real reality”, he sees a desolate
landscape littered with burned ruins (what remained of
Chicago after a global war).
The resistance leader, Morpheus, utters the ironic
greeting: “Welcome to the desert of the real9 and so
Neo looks around astonished and surrounded by urban
decay and misery.
Nature is not what people think to see when they
are in the Matrix (like a dream) but it is a catastrophic
landscape that is going to be destroyed by machine.
These three graphs (fig. 2, 3 and 4) show the fre-
quency percentage of messages received by the stu-
8 Irwin, W. op cit. 110.
9 Irwin, W. op cit. 246.
Fig. 3
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
402
dents. As we can see, all of the three ideas (Man, God,
Nature) are perceived as messages in opposition with
our ideas (framed inbox). In this case, therefore, the
film’s effectiveness is very small, perhaps because it is
too syncretistic and therefore contradictory.
Limitless - 2011
MAN: In Limitless, man is wounded, the main charac-
ter (Eddie) feels inadequate to achieve his objectives and
prefers the drug aid in order to gain them. He takes a
drug that enhances his mental capabilities. He finds out
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
403
not only that he is addicted, but withdrawal may kill him
and he spends the rest of the movie trying to get more.
The Posthumanist Trap is the blurring of the line, inten-
tional or otherwise, between therapy and enhancement.
Therapy is aimed at curing or preventing disease or dis-
ability and returning a patient to a more normal state.
Enhancement takes an otherwise healthy individual and
makes them more than human in intelligence, strength
or other desired characteristics.
GOD: In Limitless there is no correlation with spiritual
and divine. Indeed, the film is focused on drug advance-
ment without ethics. It is a sign of the deep positivism
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
404
that leaks out from the film. A positivism that acts on
the Human nature, modifying and entering the field
of enhancement and developing the following benefits:
extraordinary observation skills, noticing of details, in-
stant recall of relevant information; the drug helps him
to complete his book, gives inspiration and creativity,
language and translation).
NATURE: It is the nature of Human Being that is in
danger.
As we can see in the graphs (fig. 5 and 7), students
perceived very different messages from what we think
was the real message conveyed (in the box). Meanwhile
fig. 6 shows that public (as us) think that God has noth-
ing to do with this movie.
Avatar - 2009
MAN: The storyline is about humanity’s future evolu-
tion10. All characters are enhancing their bodies with ex-
ternal and secondary means. The scientists plugged into
10 Blechner, R.T. [On line publication]«James Cameron’s Avatar
is about Transhumanism». Second Tense. 12/23/2009. .
secondtense.com/2009/12/james-camerons-avatar-is-about.html>
[Consulted: 21/08/2013].
remote links to Na’vi (blue alien) human hybrid bodies.
The titular Avatars are “shell” Na’vi bodies —genetically
cooked up from a gumbo of human and Na’vi DNA—
suited to Pandora’s environment, and meant to be re-
motely ‘piloted’ by human Avatar Program candidates11.
But the back-story gives the idea of how modern med-
icine has become too expensive for the common person,
even on veteran’s benefits so that Jake Sully’s initial pri-
mary motivation is to regain his legs. Cameron is setting
up a reality where medicine and medical technology is
insufficient to meet the needs of our society to keep up
with our health. Something more fundamental needs to
be done. In contrast, the Na’Vi are described as having
resilient bodies and bone structures. They die, but they
can do incredible feats of strength and perseverance.
Another Na’Vi ability is to plug in their fiber optic
tails with animals, plants, and their mother tree, just
like a natural USB. This human-machine connection is a
strong value for posthumanists: Na’Vi can upload their
11 Hudak, C. «Avatar: James Cameron’s Big Brass Balls… in
Amazing 3-D».HPlus Magazine, December 18, 2009.
magazine.com/2009/12/18/avatar-james-camerons-big-brass-balls-
amazing-3-d/> [Consulted: 22/08/2013].
Fig. 8
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
405
memories to a giant planet-wide supercomputing plant
system when they die, a system that the human scientist
calls a neural network. Living Na’Vi can also connect
directly with the memories of their ancestors. James
Cameron glorifies secular posthumanists’ idea of tech-
nological utopianism in Avatar. Human consciousness
(“the soul”) could be uploaded and shared in computer
hardware, like the USB cords connecting the Na’vis and
the spiritual tree, Eywa12.
GOD: Jake’s ability to escape from his human re-
sponsibilities and achieve spiritual salvation is insepara-
ble with his decision to break entirely from the human
body. Opponents of posthumanism, thus, believe that
becoming an Avatar could eradicate parts of the non-
uploadable “soul,” such as human emotions13. Cameron
supplements the posthuman technology with values
of religious naturalism that sustain a sacred, ecological
paradise. Avatar’s wide reception owes to this religion
for two reasons. First, ecological moral responsibilities
12 AA.VV. [On line publication] «Avatar and Transhuman-
ism».Cinematique, May 8, 2011. Access on
blr.com/post/5317853553/avatar-and-transhumanism> [Consulted:
07/08/2013].
13 Fukuyama, F. «Transhumanism».Foreign Policy. 2004.
www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2004/09/01/transhumanism> [Con-
sulted: 24/04/2011].
in the film resonate with the new set of environmental
ethics that emerged in the response to global warm-
ing14. Secondly, visions of sacred places dominate grand
narratives in American pop culture. Cameron incorpo-
rates these values with posthumanism philosophy and
creates a positive religion that considers nature to be
sacred, imbued with intrinsic value, and worthy of rev-
erent care15.
Nature is God (in pantheism God coincides with Na-
ture, but in the Pantotheism it coincides with Nature but
it is also BEYOND nature).
NATURE: In Avatar God coincides with Nature, while
Eywa is his direct emanation. It seems that the extremely
nature conscious Na’vi who worships an all-life-inter-
connected Gaian deity that is called Eyra. For lots of
students, in Avatar, Nature is in danger because humans
are going to destroy it.
14 Rampton, J. «James Cameron: King of all he surveys».
The Independent. 19/12/2006.
arts-entertainment/films/features/james-cameron-king-of-all-he-sur-
veys-429268.html> [Consulted: 24/04/2011].
15 AA.VV. [On line publication] «Avatar and Transhuman-
ism».Cinematique, May 8, 2011. Access on
blr.com/post/5317853553/avatar-and-transhumanism> [Consulted:
07/08/2013].
Fig. 9
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
406
From Fig. 8 and 9 we can see that there is a certain
congruence between public perception and the mes-
sage conveyed. Except for the Idea of Nature (Fig. 10) in
which it is clear that the public has perceived a double
message, on one hand Nature is in danger, while on the
other “Nature is God”. In this particular case, students’
answer that “nature is in danger” is not inconsistent
with our interpretation of the movie’s message. There-
fore, these results are cumulative and are not in contra-
diction.
Twilight Saga – 2008/2012
MAN: In the book “La medicina dei nuovi vampiri”,
the authors examine the history of the Cullen family. In
fact, in order to truly understand who are “the ones”
(vampires) we must find out who is Carlisle Cullen,
doctor-father-mentor, because “it is from him that the
story begins and it is in his history that the story takes
place16”.
The transformation into a vampire by a side leads
the injured man to “heal”. By the other, it hurts him
16 Tambone, V. Borghi, L. La Medicina dei nuovi Vampiri,
Academia Universa Press, Milano, 2010, 82.
deep in his soul. The characteristics of the Twilight saga’s
vampires are:
•฀ they฀ do฀ not฀ age฀ and฀ maintain฀ the฀ physicality฀
of the moment when the transformation takes
place. They also retain the ability to increase their
knowledge, experience, memory, lived in the
general;
•฀ they฀acquire฀the฀upgrading฀of฀one฀of฀the฀character-
istics possessed before the transformation and they
gain more force and a faster speed of movement;
•฀ they฀feel฀the฀ suicide฀impulse;
•฀ they฀suffer฀ from฀chronic฀dissatisfaction฀ (for฀food฀
and sex)
•฀ they฀are฀sterile฀ (sterility฀in฀couples);
•฀ they฀have฀a฀ state฀of฀chronic฀insomnia;
•฀ they฀denounce,฀directly฀or฀ indirectly,฀dystonia฀to-
wards their condition.
But the worst side of vampirism is definitely the
loss of the Soul, a condition that makes every vam-
pire deeply wounded. It is therefore evident that the
human being is “corrupted” by the possibilities of
empowerment, enhancement and longevity and is
Fig. 10
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
407
also “corruptible” because they want to lose the only
thing that truly matters in their lives, the “soul.”
GOD: Apart from few hints during the saga (as the
history of the Cullens and San Marco in Volterra17), the
17 May be not everyone knows that the patron of Volterra is
San Giusto and not San Marco, this was a poetic license of the Twi-
entire saga never enters the specific opposition between
God and Vampires (which in the previous films was al-
light author (C. Meyer) as she said in an interview in Volterra. May
19 of 2007 olterra%20
e%20New%20Moon/Curiosita%20su%20New%20Moon.pdf> [Con-
sulted on: 14/09/2013].
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
408
ways present), between religious and profane, between
good and evil, but there is a reversal of roles in Twilight,
vampires become the good guys.
In all previous vampire movies there was always a
reference to religion and to God, fought with holy wa-
ter and crosses, with the poles of ash, oak, hawthorn
and with sacred images.
NATURE: In this film, no concern is made to the im-
portance of ecology or nature. So Nature has nothing to
do with the film.
In the Twilight saga, the questions about the idea of
nature (Fig. 13) and about God (fig. 12) are clearly per-
ceived by students. On the contrary, the message about
the idea of man is completely misunderstood (fig. 11).
Iron Man 2008/2013
MAN: Tony Stark, the billionaire inventor and head of
Stark Industries, first appeared on the Marvel comic scene
in March 1963, playing on popular cold war themes. Unlike
more traditional superheroes, Iron Man is rife with charac-
ter flaws. He is a wounded man, is a womanizer and an al-
coholic. His rise to riches is controversial, because he made
his fortune largely by selling weapons to the military. Even
in his moments of wanting to be morally good, he falls
far short of sainthood and often inadvertently hurts good
people while sometimes helping bad people18.
Stark appears invincible in his Iron Man armor; how-
ever, beneath this daunting metal shell, he is both physi-
cally and emotionally wounded. Unlike Superman and
Batman, Iron Man is not an idealized superhero seeking
absolute perfection and ultimate justice, but a tragic
superhero simply making the best of an imperfect situ-
ation. Stark does not choose to become Iron Man be-
cause of a selfless desire to rid the world of evil; rather,
he originally invented his armor simply to escape from
his captors and ensure his very survival. Only later he
decides to use the armor for the good of humanity19.
GOD: “Tony Stark’s life is riddled with moral contradic-
tions. It’s difficult to draw any tidy moral lessons about
him”20. In the movie Stark feels personally responsible for
the destruction created by those who used the technology
he created. In the first movie he sets out to recover his tech-
nology from villains who would use it to harm innocent
18 White, M.D. Iron Man and Philosophy, facing the Stark
reality, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey, 2010, 236.
19 White, M.D. op cit. 242.
20 White, M.D. op cit.187.
Fig. 13
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
409
people. “Tony Stark remains remorseful of his weapons -
designing past and continues to struggle to be a ‘good’
person21. Tony wants to do good, but that is not enough
21 “Extremis” appeared in Iron Man, vol. 4, #1 – 6 (2005-2006).
Extremisis atecnovirusable to change the body of a man and make
him a deadly and semi-indestructible weapon. After the fight with
the man (Mallen) enhanced by the virus, Stark falls into a coma for
for him. He also strives to be good. He wants to be a good
person, but it is Iron Man who does good deeds.
the injuries. They decide to inject the virus in him who finds him self
completely recovered from his injuries and with the ability to mentally
connect to any type of electronic device. Now Tony, directly connected
to his armor, can not find Mallen, could not do anything against
the new armor upgraded by tecnovirus, then he is killed by Tony.
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
410
NATURE: Despite Tony Stark’s Arc Reactor that uses
clean energy that electromagnetically stabilizes the
shrapnel in his chest (the punishment for his previous
behavior) and powers his armor, the film seems to have
nothing to do with ecology and nature except that
knowing Nature and its processes allows us to dominate
it through technology.
When we understand how nature works, we’re in a
position to make nature work for us. Consider Descartes’
stunning prediction of how, through his method “we
could know the power and action of fire, water, air, the
stars, the heavens and all the other bodies in our envi-
ronment, as distinctly as we know the different crafts
of our artisans; and we could use this knowledge — as
the artisans use theirs — for all the purposes for which
it is appropriate, and thus make ourselves, as it were,
the lords and masters of nature22.Then we can, as peo-
ple often say, “master nature”. “But when Descartes
used the term “master” (maître) in the passage we just
quoted, he was thinking of something much more spe-
cific than simply elevating us to a position of dominion
22 Descartes, R. Philosophical Writings, vol. I, trans. John Cot-
tington, Robert Stoothoff, and Dougald Murdoch Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press, 1985, 142-143.
over the rest of nature”23. So we can say that in addition
to this, Nature is only viewed as something to study in
order to improve our technology. Finally we can say that
Nature, by an ecological point of view has nothing to do
with this film.
From fig. 15 and 16 we can see that there is a high
congruence between public perception and the message
conveyed. From fig. 14 we can say that public has per-
ceived a double message. On one hand that “There is
man and Man” and on the other that “The man is old,
he has to be overcome” while we believe that the main
message is that “Man is wounded”.
6. Conclusion
It is very interesting to underline that the values’ per-
ception transmitted by films in some cases differs from
the message that we deeply feel they conveyed.
One of the assumptions of Effective Communication
(as described by Paul Watzlawick24) and then in the field
of Neuro Linguistic Programming is: “The Effect of com-
munication is in the response that is obtained and not
23 White, M.D. op cit. 14.
24 Watzlawick, P. Bavelas, J.B. Jackson, D.D. Pragmatics of hu-
man communication; a study of interactional patterns, pathologies,
and paradoxes.Norton, New York, 1967.
Fig. 16
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
411
in the intent of the communicator”25. This has important
implications in the field of communication, because a
movie might convey values opposed to those the author
had in his mind (e.g. “Lo spazio Bianco” by Francesca
Comencini).
Without necessarily coming to the philosophical in-
terpretation of texts, as proposed by Hans-Georg Gad-
amer26, we can say that every interpretation is influ-
enced by our historical prejudices. Our knowledge, that
characterizes our understanding of present, is deter-
mined by a continuous stratification of notions that are
formed due to the ongoing dialogue between the work
and its interpreters.
This circumstance is described by an important and
sometimes misunderstood concept, the “fusion of hori-
zons” (Horizontverschmelzung).
This is the process that leads the text’s consumer in
the hermeneutic circle, in which two horizons are com-
bined, the interpreter’s one, formed by the tradition and
pre-understanding of the present, and the text’s one,
which carries inside the set of all the interpretations and
traditions that has been experienced.
Although we have not investigated “how” the
transmission of these Posthumanists values organized in
these eye-catching story lines, with great visual effects
and deep impact in population, can affect future clinical
health professional’s lives, we decided to test a method-
ology that is suitable to study their perception.
The survey we carried out, allows us to simply see
the gap between the message that according to the
posthumanist experts should be transmitted in a cer-
tain direction with respect to the message received by a
selected portion of cinematographic audience (health-
care students). We also found that the broadcasted
movie’s message is easily understood if it has a “nega-
tive” content (i.e. God/Nature had nothing to do with
the film). The research gave interesting data especially
regarding the ability of a certain movie to convey its
meaning in the right direction. Furthermore, the ques-
25 Pensieri, C. PNL e Sanità. Teorie e tecniche della comunica-
zione medico-paziente, NLP International ltd, UK, 2009, 80.
26 Gadamer, H.G. Verità e Metodo, Bompiani, Milano, 2000.
tionnaire was easy to complete, in fact, it had a 100%
response rate. Therefore, it is possible to make the
same analysis on a larger sample.
The survey form could be reused even for other new
generation mass-media including the world of video
games for PC and consoles which are widespread among
the youth across the globe.
References
AA.VV. [On line publication] «Avatar and Transhuman-
ism».Cinematique, May 8, 2011. http://dianying.tum-
blr.com/post/5317853553/avatar-and-transhumanism
Blechner, R.T. [On line publication] «James Cameron’s
Avatar is about Transhumanism». Second Tense.
12/23/2009.
james-camerons-avatar-is-about.html>
Descartes, R. Philosophical Writings, vol. I, trans. John Cot-
tington, Robert Stoothoff, and Dougald Murdoch Cam-
bridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985, 142-143.
Fukuyama, F. «Transhumanism».Foreign Policy. 2004.
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2004/09/01/
transhumanism>
Gadamer, H.G. Verità e Metodo, Bompiani, Milano, 2000.
Hudak, C. «Avatar: James Cameron’s Big Brass Balls… in
Amazing 3-D».HPlus Magazine, December 18, 2009.
http://hplusmagazine.com/2009/12/18/avatar-james-
camerons-big-brass-balls-amazing-3-d/>
Iron Man, vol. 4, #1 – 6 (2005 – 2006).
Irwin, W. The Matrix and Philosopy, Perfect Bound, New
York, 2002, 111.
Media Salles «European Cinema Yearbook 2012». 3-4. 2013.
Motion Picture Association of America [On line publica-
tion] «Theatrical Market Statistic 2012». 21.
www.mpaa.org/Resources/3037b7a4-58a2-4109-
8012-58fca3abdf1b.pdf>
National Council of Italian Association of Transhumanists
(AIT) [On line publication] «Manifesto». 11/02/2008.
Pensieri, C. PNL e Sanità. Teorie e tecniche della comuni-
cazione medico-paziente, NLP International ltd, UK,
2009, 80.
CLAUDIO PENSIERI, MASSIMILIANO VITALI AND VITTORADOLFO TAMBONE POSTHUMANISTS VALUES IN WORLDWIDE MOVIES
CUADERNOS DE BIOÉTICA XXV 2014/3ª
412
Rampton, J. «James Cameron: King of all he surveys».
The Independent. 19/12/2006.
pendent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/
james-cameron-king-of-all-he-surveys-429268.html>
Tambone, V. Borghi, L. La Medicina dei nuovi Vampiri,
Academia Universa Press, Milano, 2010, 82.
Watzlawick, P. Bavelas, J.B. Jackson, D.D. Pragmatics of hu-
man communication; a study of interactional patterns,
pathologies, and paradoxes.Norton, New York, 1967.
White, M.D. Iron Man and Philosophy, facing the Stark
reality, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey,
2010, 236.

Para continuar leyendo

SOLICITA TU PRUEBA