December 21, 2015

Kylo's Amateur Mind Meld (WARNING: SPOILERS)

This is just a quick post to address one of the many questions The Washington Free Beacon's Sonny Bunch posed regarding plot elements of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In his piece entitled "Rey from Star Wars is basically just John Cena", Bunch asks how Rey, who is not a Jedi, could even know the Jedi Mind Trick and telekinesis are things.

When Han Solo tells Finn and Rey that Luke Skywalker, The Jedi, and The Force are all true, Rey does not respond, "Yah, I know." She instead gazes in wonder at the magical possibilities. How then could this industrial picker, isolated on a desert planet her entire life, shortly thereafter not only conceive of the notion, but then earnestly attempt to telepathically persuade a stormtrooper into releasing her from captivity, especially since Han Solo did not offer any particulars? This is my theory.

It is important to note this exchange between Solo, Finn, and Rey happens before Kylo Ren attempts the Mind Meld on Rey to extract the missing piece of the map. It is during this psychic struggle that I believe Rey acquires the knowledge of The Force's and her own (heretofore dormant) Force-capable potential. It is Kylo Ren's incomplete tutelage under Skywalker that permits Rey a glance at this potential. It is Kylo's lack of mastery over this technique that provides Rey the knowing of things that we don't grant she can know.

If Kylo's training had been successfully completed, he likely would not have been sloppy enough to spill The Force's beans, to subconsciously reveal to Rey that she has tools like the Jedi Mind Trick and telekinesis at her disposal.

UPDATE: Sonny Bunch was kind enough to consider the possibility of this theory.

Editor's Note: Thanks, Sonny!

February 9, 2015

Immunity From The Herd

Several potential presidential candidates addressed the ongoing measles outbreak and kicked off a debate about whether or not to forcibly require vaccinations.  I hadn't tackled the issue philosophically so I began with the premise that it would be immoral to force someone to get vaccinated and also immoral to force someone to interact with the unvaccinated.  That it's moral to deny science and to endanger yourself and also moral to discriminate against those plaguemares by refusing them onto your property.

And that would be a very popular discrimination. Popular not because you alone hold that view, but because many others share that view. But if the morality of a discrimination depends upon its popularity, and you alone do not constitute popularity, then others necessarily dictate who you may or may not prohibit, violating the premise.

Popular opinion as a moral authority violates the premise. Lawful enforcement of that popular opinion violates the premise. So if the popularity of a discrimination cannot alter its morality, then all discrimination is equally moral. To deny the morality of the least popular discrimination is to violate the premise. In a country or system where laws may be repealed or its constitution amended to require violation of the premise, it becomes necessary to persuasively defend the morality of the least popular discrimination from popular legislation or else cede the morality of discrimination altogether.

Racial discrimination seems to be the most polarizing and unpopular so it's necessary to defend the morality of hanging a 'Whites Only' sign in a store window. I do so in the context of attempting to persuade someone to accept the premise instead of using sabotage or legislation to remove the sign.

To be continued...