Saturday, October 21, 2006

Marcus Aurelius - Meditations

Book given to me by Adrian, so I can speed-read it before he looks it over at his own pace. It's a kind of first-century blog - a collection of aphorisms as fresh now as when Marcus Aurelius crafted them in AD 170-180. I think the observations couldn't be bettered: any progress we have made is perhaps in understanding more deeply why the human experience is like that.

Random thought: isn't "Robin Hood" (BBC-1) just 'Spooks' in tights? Insouciant attitudes, fast cuts, snappy dialogue, contemporary references, lots of action?

Article in the Daily Telegraph today condemns the current dumbed-down BBC against top programmes made decades ago ('The Ascent of Man', 'Civilization'). Actually, guys, most of the output was always pretty low-brow.

There are very few stupid people involved in TV. Producing TV for the C1, C2 masses (say, IQ 85 - 105 with low 'Openness to Experience') is like producing tabloid newspapers. Bright people simulating ordinariness. In common with the author of the Telegraph piece, I find this boring, synthetic and depressing, but the target audience doesn't seem to have a problem. And that fact is actually quite interesting.

I am reminded of how Soaps are like 'ordinary people's' lives - with enhanced community, all the tedious bits cut out, and the emotionally-charged episodes massively highlighted. The primates gather round in fascination and awe, to see these super-primates in action. It's to normal social life as cheesecake is to normal fruit /milk ( a comparison due to Stephen Pinker).

I am sure Marcus Aurelius would have had something profound to say about that.