Film Exam Questions: Week 4 (98799)

This assignment asked for responses to four questions related to a series of short films.

The Films

Question 1:

How would sociology help explain alleged paranormal phenomena such as crop circles?

Sociology would explain some alleged paranormal phenomena such as crop circles as deliberate frauds, pranks, or art projects by human beings seeking a reaction from others or simply desiring to accomplish a great feat. They might also be understood as some sort of manifestation of a human impulse towards ritualistic acts invoking awe and mystery, with the strange designs of the circles symbolically expressing some unconscious meaning or another. On the other side of the phenomena, we could explain the widespread interpretation of such circles as supernatural or extraterrestrial in origin as stemming from a desire for the novel and fantastic, a preference towards more outlandish explanations for the greater emotional rush they provide.

Question 2:

What is the important message conveyed in the movie on terrorism? How does that message help us to become better sociologists?

The movie on terrorism, along with other similar stories of non-muslims being targeted in islamophobic hate crimes, displays quite clearly the foolishness of the logic of terrorism, exposing the described hate group's crusade to “end terrorism” as a form of terrorism itself, a strategy of imposing one's will through random acts of violence against anonymous targets who fit an ill-defined profile. Understanding the sociological factors motivating the murderers to commit these crimes in retaliation for the crimes of September 11th 2001 may help us to likewise investigate into the factors motivating the terrorists who committed the latter crimes.

Question 3:

How does the Disneyland of consciousness help us better understand Freud's understanding of "transference" and it relationship to religious leaders and charisma?

The Disneyland of Consciousness metaphor explains the human tendency to transfer aspects of one's own psychology and consciousness onto a perceived object or individual. In the context of religion, we see that followers may exhibit this tendency in the transference of the aspect of themselves which is transcendent, all-loving, eternal, etc. (a.ka. God) onto the religious leader. Charisma amounts to a certain confidence in expressed belief which the individual seems to lack, or is afraid to exert within hirself, and which s/he sees reflected in another. This individual then transfers her ability to exert self-confidence onto the external reflection, and so puts greater confidence in this reflection's words and actions, and appears to draw confidence from them, when in fact it is their own confidence, which they have chosen to map onto another, that is ultimately being drawn on.

Question 3:

Do you have any objects or persons or ideas in your life that is similar to a "Zahir"?

Oh yeah. My friends and I have recently taken to calling these ideas “transdimensional memeholes,” memetic black holes in our individual and collective mind(s) which attempt to turn everything in our perception into manifestations of themselves. Usually these begin with widely-applicable humor-based memes that originate from conversations in our friend group, but become what we term “meme-holes” when we inevitably become over-obsessed with them and develop compulsions to constantly apply them to every possible situation.