Bechdel Test for life

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we all are critical with media, as films or series or books.
but what about the very source for those creations? what about life?

Bechdel-Тest is asking 3 questions about whatever movie: it asks, if

  1. there are at least 2 women in it who
  2. talk to each-other about
  3. something besides a man

often a requirement is that the talk takes longer than a minute.
and especially in the film-alike media the women must be named.
(if they don’t have a name, the actors likely will be paid less.)

to write a good story it’s best to take a look at memories.
when they’re fresh, the audience will appreciate the passion.
whatever makes the results fail the bechdel test must originate here.
now, take a look at the own thoughts and memories, do they pass it?
more concretely, there’s male and female bechdel test. ask yourself both:

  1. do you remember the full name of at least two men/women, of whom you remember
  2. talking to each-other long enough that you could fill 1 minute of film, where you remember about their conversation
  3. their actual individual standpoint and opinions expressed in the conversation and the conversation happened to be
  4. completely unrelated to people of their sexual preference and completely unrelated to whatever they obtained from cooperating with such people?

this test incorporates the extension that talk of babies and marriage wont count.
and a new 3. question was inserted about something that goes without saying for films.
but other than that it covers the very reasons for why male writers wont pass Bechdel.
basically our thoughts are occupied mostly with procreation and sexuality.
not surprising when memories of strangers follow suit.

in essence, stuff that is pleasant will be remembered more easily.
some fancy sex, some fancy the togetherness of a family.
of course in a chat with strangers we wont talk of sexual activity.
some people even protect privacy of family by avoiding talk of that.
but in our mind some things are associated to other things.
there was an experiment with dogs. pavlov’s dog:
the dog will get food every-time a bell rang.
as a result the dog will associate bell with food.
this manifests as saliva being produced in such circumstances.
human isn’t any different, coincidences become triggers for thoughts.
sufficient to talk of other people’s babies and marriage.
or talk of whatever aroused you in sexual activity.
this way the otherwise taboo topics still are triggered in mind.
seeing a nice body-shape helped in your sexuality?
so talk with others openly about shapes of body!
this way you create pleasant thoughts and experience nice feelings.
just like pavlov’s dog thinking of food on the sound of a bell.
by choosing what you do and what you say, influence thoughts.
why torture yourself with unpleasant thoughts? get into a good mood!

human mind has a strange mechanism that goes a bit beyond pavlov’s dogs:
through mental repetition we can reeducate our mind, to do whatever we want.
be it buddhist mantras or christian prayers, they brainwash us.
just pick the mantra you want and repeat it thousands of times.
if your mind had some contradictory mantra imprinted that way, do more.
of course this method on its own is as senseless as whatever punishment in school.
the difference, though, is that now you’re doing it on your own.
so control the awareness of what it is you’re repeating.
add in thoughts you want to become conditioned as “associated”.
or simply, don’t repeat a mantra, repeat an experience instead.
put the experience into the pleasant context by pleasant thoughts.
the applications are infinite!

in fact we already do that all life long.
we see fashion and remember the sexual partner in that fashion.
during sex we think of sports, so we’ll love sports later-on.
we eat sweets and are reminded of mother’s milk and the togetherness.
we were happy of gifts at Xmas, and now our family must get gifts too.
our life is full of such ushers showing our place in society.
some cause bad habits, others are real life-savers.
the cigar after a meal or sex is a bad habit.
putting on a condom for sex could be a life-saver.
do such things often enough and they’ll become part of life.
not necessary to have thousands of repetitions.

do the male bechdel-test for your memories as above.
and do the female bechdel-test for your memories too.
compare the results. why the difference?
why is it so difficult to remember some stuff?
because it’s unimportant stuff to us!
what gets repeated becomes important.
the older we get the less important all the rest will end up being.
when enough repetitions happened, thoughts fall into narrow burrows.
if the burrows happen to be unpleasant thoughts, that’s depression.
and if you’re male and constantly think of sex, maybe it’s something in your life?
most often it’ll be females triggering thoughts of sex, like the bell for pavlov’s dog.
think of 2 females meeting, and thoughts will diverge into that direction.
not surprising male writers are stuck failing the bechdel-test for their work.
solution seems to be using female writers or very young talents.
but wouldn’t female writers think of sex in such situations too?
a heterosexual female writers probably thinks of sex when writing male dialogue.
but the important point is, these thoughts manifest in various different ways!
most of the time it wont even be visible the original thought took such direction.
additionally many women don’t consider sex as pleasant.
so naturally also male dialogues likely wont be pleasant.

just read a good book, and watch the dialogues.
wont be that difficult to deduce from them sexual preferences of the writer.
then read a great book, and notice how you can’t do that anymore.
passing the bechdel-test is one important aspect that makes great books great.
more generally a great author should let characters develop individually.
not the author’s thoughts but the character’s thoughts should matter in dialogue!


Abstraction of Emotions

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English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

English: Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

the word “Emotion” describes something one can’t actually talk about.
the reason is that I distinguish between a perception and the thing perceived.
Emotions are what we perceive when we have feelings.
so one can only talk about feelings and not about emotions.
however, abstractly the two are connected. therefore the title is justified.

in science it is unknown if  hormones cause what we call feelings, or if it’s the other way around.
therefore the notion of emotions is even less understood by the psychologists.
seems psychology focuses on investigating feelings only.
still, in future the knowledge on feelings might become useful for investigating emotions.
for this to work, first one must distinguish between two kinds of feelings:
Warm Feelings I call every perception that is directly and strongly correlated with measurable circumstances happening beforehand.
Cold Feelings I call feelings perceiving more abstract circumstances happening in the body, and stuff that isn’t measurable at all.

I emphasize: Warm Feelings are any kind of perception, including our 5 senses,  including things we see.
especially a man having a crush for some woman, or a woman having a crush for some Man, these really are Warm Feelings.
various substances in the blood play a role in this perception. it really doesn’t matter if those appear only afterwards.
the trick is to divide every single feeling we have into a Warm and a Cold aspect.
in other words, first comes the Emotion, then Cold Feeling, then changes in the body, those then are perceived as Warm Feelings.
so in investigating emotions, the Cold Feelings are what one should take a closer look at. Warm Feelings are uninteresting.
doesn’t work that way though. human is unable to distinguish between Warm and Cold Feelings.
for example if the love for your beloved one is becoming weaker, is it weakening of Warm or Cold Feelings?
maybe a majority of divorces are just the result of hormonal changes? maybe love wanes because you eat the wrong things?
or the other way around: allegedly increasing frequency of sex will strengthen a relationship. does it strengthen Cold Feelings too?
obviously Warm Feelings will be strengthened because there’s a gratification happening regularly.
neuronal networks work that way: gratification causes strengthening of pathways in the network.
when you gratify being together with husband/wife by various pleasures, is it still Love?
more logically is that changes in the brain create an addiction for the person, or a pavlovian reaction.
you want to be pavlov’s dog? be it sex or even just attention, all these cause merely Warm Feelings.

the notion of “warm feelings” we usually associate with such things like love and such.
that’s why I choose it. what we commonly call love is just hormonal perception and addictive reactions.
eliminate all the gratifications you get, what reasons for your love do remain?
what remains I call “affection”, the Cold Feeling that comes with various emotions we feel for eachother.
in comparison to the Warm Feeling of love, affection is very cold. it’s only about how we are affected!
love contains a lot of desires and expectations that draw us to another person.
the behaviour of being drawn to eachother is commonly called a warm feeling.
similarly the feeling of getting a lot of attention is nourishing for us.
being drawn to eachother, being nourished by eachother, that’s what people even call “hot” feelings.
but if I say “your way of working has affected me, has inspired me” that’s a cold way of saying “I love you”.
especially these kinds of feelings have nothing to do with sexuality or wanting to found a family.
these are emotions that are unconditional, a truly unconditional kind of love.
what most people seek though is a hot love, an egoistic love full of expectations.
afterall, this hot love is what is getting gratified by pleasure, through nature’s dictate.

as tibetan buddhists say, everybody is seeking for bliss, for unending pleasure. they promise buddhism can offer that.
so generally speaking buddhism is a religion focused on giving us Warm Feelings.
this is seen in many aspects they emphasize, but also in their choice of words.

buddhists seek to stop the suffering of people. they have a feeling of being obstructed by the sufferings of others.
just getting into bliss isn’t sufficient for them, they also want that others get the same bliss too.
this compassion they feel is called “karuna”. “Kam” means bliss, “runa” means stopping.
one specific method, in the tantric branch of buddhism, is using sexuality to attract people.
they have the idea that there is a moment of bliss in sexuality, maybe this could point at what real bliss is.
their method is to get people towards an orgasm without emission of all the things that have functionality in reproduction.
i.e. men wont ejaculate and women too will rise their passion indefinitely spreading bliss throughout their body.
this goal of orgasm without emission they again call “karuna”, but for other reasons.
still it’s the same word, so in a way all these things are related: obviously bliss is a Warm Feeling!

the actual goal of buddhists is the “ultimate mind of enlightenment”.
it’s described as “wisdom consciousness in the continuum of Bodhisattva directly realizing emptiness”.
the word bodhicita is understood as “mind of enlightenment”, the “altruistic intention to become enlightened”.
remember the notion “emission of all the things that have functionality in reproduction” in the previous paragraph?
what actually is being emitted by men and woman during ordinary orgasm they call bodhicitta too.
so in their choice of words they already indicate that what they really want is the reproductive part of sexuality.
no matter how the nature of this goal, feelings caused by reproductive mechanisms are Warm Feelings, so is the goal!

to be fair I must also mention that aside from bliss buddhists also seek so-called “emptiness”.
however, the tantra sex division insists that this is achieved for a moment during sex too (and lost in orgasm)!
emptiness means that all notions we have about the world lose their dualistic judgements.
we see stuff and immediately draw conclusions on whether they are good or bad, beautiful or ugly, and so on.
purely seeing the world without such judgements, through emptiness, is the only way how bliss actually is possible.
if we would constantly judge things, we end up feeling bad about the bad things around us.
being unaffected by the badness is how during sexuality the good feelings are kept alive.
would we start judging badly about something, arousal would wane, sex would be no fun.
but even though the feeling of “emptiness” happens in sex, it seems to be a Cold Feeling.
there is no known physical phenomenon that would match this feeling.
substances in our blood don’t change that much through orgasm.
neither do scientists speak of whatever phenomena ending because of orgasm.
but yet we all know how judgemental one is right after or during orgasm…

just to clarify, in tibet there are 2 major kinds of buddhism:
one kind calls the pearls of wisdom it is founded on “tantra”. as in tantric sex.
the other kind calls such pearls of wisdom related to the own school “sutra”. as in kamasutra.
however, both require their monks to be mostly without sex, especially when in the monastery.
so don’t let the words mislead you into believing they would be any more liberal than western religions.

oh, and as a disclaimer: I know only very little about buddhism.
I know it’s a religion originating from what is now pakistan.
I know what I have read in some books.
a religion is about what the participants say though.
you just can’t read some bible and you know everything there is to know!

but there seems to be an alternative I must investigate myself:
the dzogchen branch of tibetan buddhism is focusing on leaving things the way they are.
that means no changes in the body, but yet a different state of mind, different feelings.
clearly those feelings must be of the Cold kind. they make use of warm feelings too though.
for example practitioners are controlled by fears and various kinds of placebo.
but those are all just tools, and it is made clear from the beginning that they wont matter lateron.

in summary I propose that the reader might ask the important question:
does my favourite religion focus on Warm or on Cold Feelings?
in terms of learning to cope with our emotions religions play an important role.
all the things we cannot measure but that still affect us, they all are handled by religions.
the things we can measure are being handled by science. in science you find knowledge on Warm Feelings.
so what use is a religion that too does focus on Warm Feelings and neglects Cold Feelings?
in order to live we need knowledge on both, the more we know the stronger is our grip on life.
if it’s just one-sided knowledge, our grip on life will be rather like holding dry sand.
whatever goals we choose for life, Warm and Cold Feelings bust be understood equally.
a firm grip on one and the other will valve away the things we’re trying to get ahold of.

most people want to control their feelings. some might even succeed.
but isn’t that alike to controlling how we perceive visual input by hallucinating stuff?
for Warm Feelings control is primarily a self-delusion, once feelings arrive something else caused them.
those people then retreat into controlling the mechanisms leading to the feelings instead.
wont work with Cold Feelings. we don’t know how they are caused!
so in effect all attempts of control just end up in the delusion of being in control.

being in control is a Cold Feeling. none-the-less it is an uninteresting kind of feeling.
the thing being perceived through the feeling is the abstract notion of controlling.
in a way this is a much warmer feeling than other Cold Feelings.
the only reason it isn’t a Warm Feeling even though control is measurable:
human tends to rely more on self-reflection than on actual self-perception.
if you want to outperform most other human beings, just get rid of that!
assert your own risks, find out what dangers could await you in future.
always be aware of what your current situation is in terms of risks.
this knowledge then will set you apart from others who don’t do that.

in general, as I implied above throughout this article, one must distinguish between control and knowledge.
both are about predicting the future, Knowledge is about doing it actively, Control is the passive way.
when you feel in control it is a prediction that things will go your way in future.
when you have knowledge however, you predict the future in terms of probabilities.
whatever knowledge you are lacking you can make up by an estimate for likelihood.
regardless how you use that knowledge, control never is possible this way.
the more you know, the better you will understand that you don’t know everything.
especially it is totally unpredictable how the world will work.
you never know if you haven’t made a mistake, if you are aware of all possibilities yet, and so on.
on the one hand, with control you wont get the awareness that full control is impossible.
knowledge on the other hand leads to the insight that what you know is just a tiny fraction of reality.
therefore only knowledge is capable of breaking the deceitful mirror of self-reflection we rely on.
similarly only a desire for control will lead to the Cold Feeling of safety and stability.
the choice between knowledge and control is a choice between loss of self-delusion and loss of risks.
if it is risks you want to fight, control is what you must obtain.
if you want to get rid of all lies, Knowledge is what you must seek.
I prefer Knowledge, I prefer being aware of my risks instead of fighting them.
I think it is important to realize that the two are mutually exclusive.
Knowledge is not available when living a sheltered life, for knowledge one must visit other places, take risks!

understanding the own Feelings is one thing. it’s important for predicting the own behaviour.
but also very important is to actually take the risk of allowing the own feelings to surface.
an Emotion causes a Feeling. and some feeling will cause certain changes in behaviour.
if the behaviour is suppressed, the feelings will get suppressed too, as if some abstract eye-lids were closed.
the underlying emotions still exist, but such a person will fail to perceive it.
more exactly only a small part of the body will fail to perceive the emotion.
the unwanted behaviour will vanish because the responsible body-part is blind.
the rest of the body will perceive the emotion though. this results in imbalance.
especially it’s an imbalance of information, some body-parts know more than other.
mostly it’s then the conscious mind that knows nothing.
it’s easy to get rid of fear, doesn’t mean you’ll stop trembling and your body will obey you…