John Frontczak<br />Period 8 Senior Sem.<br />Mr. Clover<br />12/09/10 -[09/11/10]<br />Morris' Absolute Truth Rashomon(wh...
Rosh essey per
Rosh essey per
Rosh essey per
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Rosh essey per

  1. 1. John Frontczak<br />Period 8 Senior Sem.<br />Mr. Clover<br />12/09/10 -[09/11/10]<br />Morris' Absolute Truth Rashomon(why we lie, when we tell the truth, an Essay)<br />[Revised... ever so slightly]<br />The human mind is a complex entity, with many nuances and oddities that have yet to be mapped, which leads the human being (the machine in which the human brain pilots) to have decisive and varied yet not necessarily unpredictable responses. Take the movie Rashomon, directed by Akira Kurosawa, for example; many people have developed almost as many 'answers' to the movie as there are people that have watched it. Two such people, Ebert and Morris, have developed very distinct opinions and ideas about the movie Rashomon and what the truth is, and from their arguments I agree with Morris' opinion more than that of Ebert. Morris goes with the idea the movie is not about different truths, but rather different perspectives.<br />Someone's word can be taken as truth in and of itself, generally, through no fault of the individual; simply because the word of a single person can be wrong, due to the individual not really knowing what happened or did not see everything clearly, thus the problem with eye witness testimony and the reason behind one of Morris' points. The main issue Morris has with eye witness testimony (using what someone who supposedly saw the event, says, as evidence), and the reason he does not look at them alone, is that the concept of taking it for truth is flawed. One of the biggest problems is that the person may not be telling the truth, whether they know it or not, which generally they do not. Which is a point Morris tries to make; if someone tells a lie, that lie does not then become truth. Even if they think they are telling the truth, they may not be recounting what they actually saw. Every time we call upon a memory, we are drawing upon compressed ideas from many different places that we had of the event combined with our ideas of the nature of the world and reality and how it works in order to reconstruct said event, and many details could be added or lost in this process as the event is perceived differently then when you first experienced it. In order to recall the event perfectly, you would need to relive the event exactly; which is impossible, and presents the same limitation as with any mental or physical model we construct.<br />Human perception is faulty, with our information being filtered through our sense and our minds before being stored, making everything we perceive a possible fallibility. Perception is a fickle thing, with a lot going on before what we perceive becomes what we conceptualize, and an even greater process between what an individual 'knows' about something and what that something actual is. The nature of how we perceive events is limited and restricted by our mind, so we can't perceive everything around us, we do not even perceive most of what happens to us. In order for the human mind to save and process information, it is selective; we notice what we want to notice, and remember what we consider important. However, we are not even aware of most of this process, and thus do not generally even register our own faulty perception. For instance, none of the 'witness' mentioned the amount of breaths someone took, because it was unimportant to them (and to most other people), and thus would neither recount it or remember that information. Not to mention, just as with our memories and what we can recall, what we notice can be affected by our emotions noticing everything that is black if you are depressed or noticing every pregnant women if you are pregnant. There is no way that we can possible perceive everything, which leads to the pre-mentioned problem with memory. This causes there to be a difference in perceived memory between the bandit, the wife, and the woodcutter in the movie, not a difference in reality.<br />According to a great deal of the human population, Morris included, you cannot change reality. Thus Petito Pricipii, or begging the question is brought up: the fallacy that demonstrating a conclusion by means of a premises that assume that conclusion; by saying something is true, that does not make it true. There is only one truth, just because someone says that a cube is an apple, that does not change reality so that the cube is now an apple; in this way, what no matter what we think, it does not change what has actually happened in the world. In the end, Morris says that it does not matter what someone thinks happened, some event did happen, and certain aspects about that event can be brushed away. The husband, samurai, died; this cannot be disputed, nor can the fact that he was stabbed. Morris finds the idea that something else happened, "that there is no reality, that truth is up for grabs, or that truth is subjective" based on other people's ideas of what happened is "foolish and unappetizing". He further states that there is only what happened, absolute truth, and that lying is a prospect of language, not reality; people can lie, the very nature of the world cannot. The fact remains that someone did kill the women's husband, and it does not matter if they or no one else remembers he or she did, he or she still did kill him.<br />With the accumulation of these few points Morris presents about the nature of the movie, I find Morris' opinion much more agreeable than that of Ebert's. Memory and perception is selective and faulty by nature, and thus cannot be taken as no matter how earnest the person is. Nor is what is the truth 'up for grabs' something happened regardless of everyone's fallibly memories, ideas, and senses. After all, how can something be both dead and alive at the same time? How can someone have killed you, and not killed you at the same time?<br />Sources:<br />Ebert, Roger. "Roger Ebert: Rashomon Review." Roger Ebert. Chicago Sun-Times, 14 Oct. 2009. web. 10 Sept. 2010. < http://www.suntimes.com/ebert/greatmovies/><br />Lagemaat, Richard van de. "Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma." Cambridge, 2006. Print.<br />Morris, Errol. "Interview with The Beliver." Errol Morris Official Site. April 2004. web. 10 Sept. 2010. <http://www.errolmorris.com/content/interview/believer0404.html><br />"Rashomon." Dir. Akira Kurosawa. Daiei, 1950. 9 Sept. 2010.<br />

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