The Art of Being Human
Week One, Chapter Two
Profile of a Critical Thinker
Critical Thinking
Do you look at things from all angles?
Ask yourself, “What are the other
perspectives?”
Friedrich
Nietzche
1844 - 1900
German Philosopher
Nietzche
Made the distinction
between Apollonian
and Dionysian sides of
the human personality
Believed that humans
should balance the two
sides.
Apollonian
Response
Side of personality dominated by
disciplined, analytical, rational, and
coherent thought.
The side that responds to Greek
tragedy by seeking it’s meaning.
Dionysus
Side of the human personality
dominated by emotion, intuition, and
freedom from limits.
This personality side responds
emotionally
The Popcorn Syndrome
Caution: everyone loves a “good read” or
a “popcorn” movie -- one in which you
really like it, and you don’t want to analyze
it--okay sometimes, but is always a shallow
response. Too much Dionysus =
hangover.
Empathy and Alienation
Too much Apollonian response: only
analysis is bad too -- we should empathize
with characters in a story, or listen to
beautiful music or stand and stare at great
art.
e.e. cummings -- poet
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did
Apollonian response:
Dionysus response:
Drops of Jupiter
Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
With drops of Jupiter in her hair, hey
She acts like summer and walks like rain
Reminds me that there’s a time to change, hey
Since the return from her stay on the moon
She listens like spring and she talks like June, hey, hey
Apollonian response:
Dionysus response:
(my favorite lines:)
Now that she’s back in the atmosphere
I’m afraid that she might think of me as
Plain ol’ Jane told a story about a man
Who was too afraid to fly so he never did land.
Responding Critically
Defining what it is we want to determine: Why did this film work for me?
Putting aside instinctive, emotional responses.
Collecting and analyzing all pertinent factors.
Evaluating the work or the topic in its proper context.
Forgetting how it relates only to you--Example, I know it’s good because
the main character is young like me.
Have an informed opinion.
Exercise the Mind
Everything I say is a lie.
Time travel: You go back in time and kill
your father.
“Why buy new when slightly used will do,
except when the deals are this good.”
Challenge Assumptions
50 common misconceptions -But, more seriously:
Henry Ford: the car can be produced so everyone can afford it
No one will ever fly
Ken Olson, CEO of DEC -- “There is no reason anyone would
want a computer in their home.”
What about social issues? Blacks and Whites can never marry.
Goth people are violent, etc.
Recognizing Context
Nothing happens in a void
Selective memory -- who is telling the story?
Shakespeare = movie smash hits
West Side Story (R and J)
10 Things I Hate about you (Taming of the Shrew)
The Lion king = Hamlet
La Beheme = Rent
Pride and Prejudice = You’ve got mail, Bridge Jones’ Diary
Click here for more
Become an Informed
Critic
Don’t jump to conclusions!
Art is the illusion that there is no art.
Literalist
Bad
tuned into what is happening at the
moment
accept other people’s view without
thinking about it
Figuratist
Good
Critical Thinker -- who can talk about
things in a deeper level
Often uses metaphors, playful language.
Noel Coward and Winston Churchill
Coward invited Churchill to opening night
of his plays and added, “feel free to bring
a friend if you have one.”
Churchill responded: “I won’t be able to
make the opening, but I will come the
second night if there is one.”
They were Figuratists
Key Terms
Alienation
Apollonian
context
critical thinking
Dionysian
empathy
figuratist
imagery
literalist
sonnet
rationalizing
review
SONNET
14 LINE POEM WITH A
COUPLET AT THE END.
ENGLISH/BRITISH
12 AND 2
ITALIAN
6, 6, 2
REVIEW
CAREFUL EVALUATION OF
A WORK OF LITERATURE,
DRAMA, VISUAL ART,
MUSIC, OR CINEMA BY A
PROFESSIONAL CRITIC.