Anonymous asked this question on 4/25/2000:
What effect does movie violence have upon socitey?
Artemidoros gave this response on 4/29/2000:
This question can open a wide debate. Movie pictures have an important influence on society and this by various means. I don't have the unrealistic ambition to be exhaustive on the subject but I will just list some categories of problems which you can try to look up by litterature or field research; you can ask more questions if you want something more specific:
1. The human being and the image: The human being is easily deceited by images and this is related to the brain's physiology. The difficulty to distinguish between image and reality is at the startpoint of many philosophies and religions, starting with Plato and the parabole "of the Cave". some religions bannished pictural representation.
2. The Problem of Primary Narcissism: Any plain representation leeds human beings to unconscious projections and identifications, in the sense that they can believe unconsciously that they are the person on the screen or feel love or hatred for that represented person.
3. Getting Wrong Information: Everything humans create, including pictures and movies is fiction. Fiction is not lying but it isn't truth either. Unfortunately not all the people, but just very, few have the capacity to understand what fiction is and how it can be integrated in experience. The result is a lot of people get confused about reality.
4. Emotional versus Rational: A lot of (bad, but they are the majority) films appeal to sense and sensation and very little to reason. This kind of manipulation is quite easy with some elementary knowledge of Psychology. There is a mecanism for that: vision and sound are physiologically connected to the limbic-emotional part of the brain. This is facilitated by the isolation and sensorial deprivation of the theater's dark and individualistic environment. There is a social function for that: the cinema industry is a part of a larger consumerist system and consuming appeals more to emotion than to reason. The same argumentation can be applied to violence on the screen. Violence is emotional and not rational and it is facilitated by strong sensorial stimuli ( "to see red" before being violent)
5. Some groups of people are more vulnerable to the movies' influence. These are: children or youngsters, mentally retarded or deranged persons, ill-educated persons, persons with personality disorders.
6. Strong or violence-inducing stimuli on a screen can have also an inverse, or aversive effect, on some people as this is well illustrated on the film : "The Clockwork Orange" ( by Stanley Kubrick, based on a novel by Anthony Burgess). This is generally the case with most normal people, at lezast as an immediate reaction. But some traumatic minor effects can even then be caused.
7.What is true for movies is also true for any pictural representation on a screen: TV, Video Games, Cyberworld or Virtual Reality.
8.To the question :"what kind of control or censorship for violence in movies" I propose no answer but it can be asked to various boards of ASKME.