Some Random Thoughts on Cloud Atlas, Psychology, and Teaching Philosophy

Posted on Posted in movies, Political Philosophy, teaching philosophy

I just watched Cloud Atlas last night. Although I don’t think it is a great movie, per se, I throughly enjoyed watching it. Here is a nice review of the movie from Roger Ebert.

There are a ton of great themes touched upon in the movie but one particularly struck me today as I was driving to the final meeting of a business ethics class I’ve been teaching. I’d been feeling like the class didn’t go as good as I like my classes to go. I have high standards and this was the first time I had taught this class and I was using a textbook that some of the other faculty use but found it unimpressive. As I was pondering whether the students learned anything useful in the class I found myself thinking about a scene from Cloud Atlas.

In the movie there are these persons that are created to be used as slaves for the “Corpocrats.” One of the slaves gets a hold of a short video clip in which the main character says “I will not be subject to this injustice!” This leads her to be defiant in the face of injustice, which leads another slave to become leader of a revolution that drastically changes the direction of society.

So, at least if nothing else students in my class learned that injustice is wrong, that oppression ought to be resisted, and that rights usually have to be fought for, which I think, amazingly, many have never really heard.

Something I’ve been wondering about lately is why it is that poor people  generally think government, taxation (even progressive), and social welfare programs are a terrible things. And in general are not nearly as pissed off as they should be. I think part of it has to do with just how pissed off people would be if they actually thought about these things. The mind has a way of repressing such powerful feelings. Just my sort of random thoughts on the subject, I’m sure there are some good studies, articles, and books on the topic. I’ll have to look into that someday.

(On an only slightly related note one of the students told me after the final that he really enjoyed the class.)

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