Rashomon. What do you think about Kurosawa's statement that "Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing." ? Make a Comment to this posting



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AUTHOR: blackmer

TITLE: Ebert on Rashomon

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DATE: 09/13/2004 07:00:30 AM

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Take a look at Roger Ebert's 2002 summary review of Rashomon. What do you think about Kurosawa's statement that "Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing." ?



Make a Comment to this posting with your response!

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Michael Caspani

EMAIL: caspanim@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.162.7

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 05:19:50 PM

I think the accuracy of Kurasawa's statement was certainly made apparent in RASHOMON, as each storyteller embellished themselves to try and make themselves seem stronger than the other parties involved in the samurai's murder. Ironically, these attempts at self exultation simply showed how weak all the characters truly were.

Applying Kurasawa's statement to real life, I think it is true to an extent. Everyone has, at one time or another, reminisced on a particular event in their life and stretched the truth to make it more exciting, or to make themself seem more interesting or heroic, if you will. However, while I think this statement carries some truth at times, I do not think humans are inherently dishonest. Some people are, some are not; everyone is different. And besides, everyone likes to make things interesting...

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COMMENT:

AUTHOR: Leah

EMAIL: heronl@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.18.2

URL:

DATE: 09/14/2004 05:21:26 PM



It's been my experience that people tend to stretch the truth, but rarely on purpose. It usually depends on the different points of view and assessments of the situation. When a group of friends get together to tell a story about themselves to an outsider, random group memebers tend to add random things into the story to make sure that they're included. The funny thing is that the rest of the group goes along with these embellishments. People tend to want to make themselves appear to be the biggest victim or the biggest hero so that they won't be forgotten. If that's even the real reason.

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COMMENT:

AUTHOR: Arielle

EMAIL: grimmcnallya@wlu.edu

IP: 24.51.107.242

URL:

DATE: 09/14/2004 05:25:22 PM



In a psychology course, I learned that humans have the physiological ability to create and exaggerate memories of an event. We are incapable of storing all memories of everything that has happened to us, and although this seems to apply only to memories of events in the distant past, this could also follow events that are so intense, they seem to blur together and, thus, lose some specifics.

It is possible that these conflicting stories of how the event transpired may be a result of the "filling in" of lost specifics by those involved. It may not be a conscious or controllable ability that we "are unable to be honest with" ourselves, it may be that we, as fallible beings, allow our emotions to create what we perceived the event to be.

The three who told their stories may have imagined, because of the blame they place upon themselves, that they were at fault for the final, ultimate act of murder. They each see themselves as having wronged, and no matter what they truthfully did, they take that emotion of guilt and "embellish" the memory, stating they were the cause of the murder.

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COMMENT:

AUTHOR: Ben Morris

EMAIL: morrisd@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.104.123

URL:

DATE: 09/14/2004 05:33:55 PM



I think that Kurosawa’s statement that “Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves” is false. I believe that humans are able to be honest with themselves about themselves.

Every human is privy to information in their own mind that unless verbalized, is accessible to only one’s self. Assuming that a human is capable of being honest, which I think most people are, then who better to make an honest statement about a person than oneself. The problem then arises whether or not the person will verbally tell the truth. Each character in the movie verbally conveyed his story to the court or to other characters. In one’s mind the story may have been the truth from that individual’s perspective, but verbally there is always the chance of misrepresentation, or being misunderstood.

In regards to the statement that humans “cannot talk about themselves without embellishing,” I believe that too is false. I think that everyone is capable of talking about themselves without embellishing, but as there is an exception to every rule, I feel that there are few people who have never embellished a statement at one time or another.
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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Ben Morris

EMAIL: morrisd@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.104.123

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 05:40:49 PM

P.S. Sorry about that other posting on the main page, I think I must have commented in the wrong spot the first time around. -Ben

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Dan McMenamin

EMAIL: mcmenamind@wlu.edu

IP: 67.23.156.15

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 06:01:01 PM

One of the main problems with being a conscious being, and one with some sort of memory, is that as soon as an event has happened, we can immediately think of a way to improve that event, or the way that we acted during that event. In the movie Rashomon, this event was a murder/rape, where all three of the actors seemed to be disappointed with the way they handled the situation. After being summoned for questioning, the memory of that situation is immediately brought to the surface, along with the shortcomings of each actor. To better present themselves to the police, and perhaps more importantly to erase these shortcomings they have acknowledged, they change the story. By embellishing the truth to a more satisfying version, the event itself might become less of a horror. It is certain that humans do not like living in pain, and if lying can prevent this pain, then it seems like a reasonable choice.

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AUTHOR: Kathleen

EMAIL: stoecklek@wlu.edu

IP: 24.51.107.133

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 06:21:52 PM

I find Kirosawa's statement to be extremely appropriate, in memories of even common every day occurances, though it is a particularly apt statment in reference to Roshomon. I know for fact, that I have embellished things or changed them around in my head, whether consciously or unconsciously, and I think everyone has had the experience of thinking that a dream they have had was real. I think this is the same sort of thing, you convince yourself that a certain thing has happened, or has happened a certain way and it becomes truth in your mind. As with Roshomon, guilt only exaggerates this, because people are more compelled to think that the blame lies with them, and so unconsciously change events to suit this idea, remembering something as happening one way instead of another. Furthermore, when stressful things occur, most people can't take in all the details so their mind invents them, such as in bank robberies, there are varying accounts from witnesses about what the robber looked like or how things played out. In Roshomon, the same thing happened, however, even with the widely varying accounts there are some elements that remain the same. I suppose that it is in these common elements where the least amount of embellishment lies.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Tim Blair

EMAIL: blairt@wlu.edu

IP: 67.76.91.37

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 06:24:04 PM

This movie is a clear image of how humans react to events that occur in their lives. Once an event happens it is lodged into our memory. Over time, details and events within this memory don't necessarily disappear, but they become distorted in some way. This distortion could be in regards to the events that took place, the people involved or the emotions felt while that event took place. It seems as if these distortions usually involve the storyteller's role in the specific event. More specifically, the storyteller seems to garnish his/her own role in the events that took place. It seems as if this occurs more on the subconscious level as an instinct of human nature. In RASHOMON I do not belive that the various storytellers garnished their stories consciously, but merely subconsciously and thus explains why there are conflicting stories about the subsequent murder/rape.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Alex White

EMAIL: whiteab@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.18.124

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 06:28:06 PM

I like the theme that Dan McMenamin brought up about being a conscious being. I think that this movie shows alot of what anthropology seeks to teach as a discipline: that we see everything through our own lens. Like Dan said, when an event occurs, we see the reality of that event, but once the memory of the event enters our mind, we form opinions on it based on our own personal interests, values, beliefs, emotions, etc. This is where the theme of selfishness comes into play, because once we have a chance to alter our interpretation of events within our minds, we display our seemingly innate responsibility to ourselves. Each of the characters' accounts shows this phenomenon, and each of the characters seeks to absolve his or herself from guilt. Since this phenomenon happens within our own minds, it is hard to fight, which is why Kurasawa's statement is so poignant. It is hard to fight our minds' reactions and be completely honest with ourselves, because our minds are constantly interpretating actions and events in what seem to selfish ways. Since we are in an anthropology class, I will say that the "selfishness" that the men at Rashomon speak of seems to be survivalistic, because it would be difficult to live with our guilt, shame, and sin if our minds didnt automatically help us by making us think that we are doing the right thing in a situation, whether victim or perpetrator. i think that human beings may be able to be honest with themselves, because if someone does something wrong, they know that they are doing it at the time. It is just naturally so difficult to admit flat-out wrongdoing without some sort of embellishment, to make things more comfortable.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Julianne Shelley

EMAIL: shelleyj@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.68.132

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 06:56:52 PM

I agree with Kurosawa’s statement. People cannot be honest with themselves. People with a healthy self-image do this unconsciously. You are the only person that knows your true thoughts and feelings. You are your best self-advocate, and have an innate tendency to act with your best interest in mind. People constantly seek self approval and the approval of others. This is part of how you adapt to the values instituted within your culture. Because of this you naturally believe that you are a better person than you truly are. In addition and as previously noted, I believe this self dishonesty has evolved as a survival instinct to increase one’s ability to cope with adversity in life. People cannot easily talk about themselves without embellishing. If people have a distorted image of who they truly are, then it is nearly impossible to talk about themselves without embellishment.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Carlos Spaht

EMAIL: spahtc@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.162.7

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 07:13:26 PM

I agree with Kurosawa's comment. Everyone exaggerates when talking about themselves and everyone expects this to happen. I'm not sure this is a bad thing. I once read somewhere that the reason people feel uncomfortable when they say their own names is because no one wants to believe that everything they think they are can be summed up in two words. That's what I thought about when I read Kurosawa's quote. Along these same lines, people tend to exaggerate themselves in their own heads. I'd argue that it's natural and necessary to do so, and because everyone does it, everyone could relate to the characters in the film.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: kristin collins

EMAIL: collinsa@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.162.125

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 07:32:56 PM

I disagree with Kurosawa's statement that "Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves." Although individuals experience reality in a taken for granted way (as objective and immutable), it is often the result of an elaborate creative process. "Rashomon" merely emphasizes this socially created nature of reality. Each and every person experiences reality differently: the events an individual chooses to remember regarding a particular incident will inevitably vary. Every individual is an individual, loaded with beliefs and ideas specific to their personal reality. Therefore, human beings cannot possibly experience identical realities, as Kurosawa contends; each rendition of an event or what was real will be different.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Robert Bitterman

EMAIL: bittermanr@wlu.edu

IP: 67.23.157.112

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 07:52:57 PM

The rain imagery in RASHOMON led me to believe that the downpour represented more than an imaginary barrier between the past and future. My overall impression of the rain was that it represented a spiritual element, possibly "faith in man," and had the power to wash away the sins of humanity in a time of chaos. In the beginning of the film, the Woodcutter stressed that "year after year nothing but disaster[s]," and the appearance of the ramshackle ruins where the story is told reflects this environment. The rain only begins to let up after the onlooker thinks his faith in men may have been restored by the generosity and hospitality of the Woodcutter. I noticed that the rain does not totally let up as if to say, "there is still work to be done, though this is a step in the right direction -- further cleansing or baptism is imminent." This film attempts to tackle the true nature of man and ends ambiguously as only we could expect.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Emily

EMAIL: sbernae@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.20.148

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 08:09:00 PM

Kurosawa'a statement that "human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves... cannot talk about themselves without embellishing" has both true and false aspects which can relate possibly to a specific culture. Western culture has this stress that people need to be the best and strive constantly to get there. In these situations it would probably be common for one to 'embellish' to make themselves appear better, even if the truth is that they're not. But Eastern culture has focusized strongly on honor. I feel as though falsely embelleshing oneself would not be considered an honorable act in this culture and therefore people would be taught to steer away. But regardless of culture, we are human (as emphasized in the movie). And humans are imperfect and often feel the need to make up for that fact by being dishonest.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Pierce Owings

EMAIL: owingsj@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.164.4

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 08:17:25 PM

As evident by everyone else's comments, humans can easily identify with these characters in their desire to be the star of such an event. The irony lies in their desire to attain the role of the guilty one charged with murder. Perhaps Kurosawa is using these characters to personify that the human desire for attention outweighs the human desire for acquittal. He poses the idea that we'd rather be remembered for committing a terrible crime than not remembered at all. I also learned in a psychology class that kids naturally think of the world as revolving around them. While I believe everyone grows out of this, some of it remains in our self-centered storytelling.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: John Baker

EMAIL: bakerj@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.162.12

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 08:22:56 PM

I agree with Kurosawa's statement. Individuals often stretcth the truth in their stories so that the listener will continue to pay attention to their story. I believeve that this is a flaw in human nature that is acceptable as long as the individual is able to understand the difference between reality and the fantasy that they have created. This is usually not a problem but occassionally an individual stretching the truth completely blocks out what happened and only remembers what they think happened. I agree with Carlos in that usually the exaggeration occurs when an individual wants to make himself seem bigger. In an instance such as portrayed in RASHOMON I do not think the exaggeration is acceptable and hope that in this instance an individual would be able to put aside his ego and bring out the truth.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Megan

EMAIL: brooksm@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.114.139

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 08:34:13 PM

I think that Kurosawa's statement is not entirely true. It is probably not the case in every situation where a person talks about him or herself, however I bet it is something that does happen quite often for almost everyone. In most cases I doubt that people mean to be dishonest but it is difficult to talk about yourself in an unbiased way. Perception is also a key factor because everyone perceives things in a different way. Without meaning to be dishonest, a person might speak inaccurately about themselfsimply due to their own unique perspective. However, it seems unrealistic to me that anyone could honestly perceive themself as having killing another person when they had not. I think that they situation in Roshomon is set up the way it is in order to get across the ideas about human honesty, not necessarily to be realistic.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Ted Archer

EMAIL: archert@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.15.125

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 08:46:08 PM

Kurusawa's statement about human beings' inability to be honest with themselves is a very interesting yet true statement. In every situation a human being is prone to bring along with him/her unique biases that cause their perceptions to be different. Although it is clear in this movie scenario that each of the characters are emebellishing, it is unclear why. This is why the 3 characters discussing the murder are so perplexed. I think this is precisely what Kurosawa is trying to convey, that all humans have this inability welps whether it helps their situation or not.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Shari

EMAIL: boyces@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.15.125

URL:


DATE: 09/14/2004 08:59:09 PM

I agree with Kurosawa's statement that human beings cannot talk about themselves without embellishing. When people are forced to retell a story or an event that involves themselves they tend to stretch the truth. And similar to Rashoman, one's version of the truth is different from someone elses. In Rashomon the bandit, the wife, and the Samurai embellished their characters and told stories that ended with themselves being the murderers. In my opinion, they wanted the council and possibly the audience/viewers to pity them. They wanted themselves to appear as the victim even if they were the murderer.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Letisha

EMAIL: kearneylm@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.41.20

URL:


DATE: 09/15/2004 12:08:12 AM

I completely agree with the message of Kurosawa's film. No two people react to the world in the same way and so their own ideas and misconceptions are often reflected in the way they see the world. A thief is much more likely to be suspicious of others than an honest man because he will see other men in the same context that he thinks of himself. In Rashomon, the bandit probably saw himself as a dashing romantic thief with his own code of rebellious honor, and perhaps wanted to believe that with his own desire he could force the woman that he desired to desire him back. Also, the horror and disgust the woman saw in her husband's eyes was probably, regardless of its truth, at least somewhat a reflection of what she felt for herself and what she feared from him and society at large. The man, even in death, could not accept his own failure to protect his wife and thus vilifies her to salvage his own pride. The nature of first person view is that it forces, if unintentionally, the story to revolve around one character.

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COMMENT:


AUTHOR: Joe Cooch

EMAIL: coochj@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.162.11

URL:


DATE: 09/15/2004 12:17:04 PM

Director Kurosawa's statement "Human beings are unable to be honest with themselves about themselves. They cannot talk about themselves without embellishing" is certainly a statement that challenges anyone who hears it said. Kurosawa raises a high level of doubt about the nature of man. Regardless i tend to agree with this statement to a certain extent. I think Kurosawa means that humans are not actively lying to and about themselves for personal gain, rather that every experience is subjective. I do not read this statement and see Kurosawa claiming that all humans lie. I believe that two people cannot experience something in the same way because there is somthing innately subjective to any experience. The "embellishment" that humans make when talking about themselves arises from the fact that two people cant see something the same way.

Joe

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COMMENT:

AUTHOR: Ted

EMAIL: archert@wlu.edu

IP: 137.113.64.25

URL:

DATE: 09/27/2004 11:12:03 AM



My sympathies are with the woman in the story. The story of Rashoman is set in a time and place where women were subordinate to men and had to rely on men to survive. The woman in the story is depicted as the property and possession of men throughout the story. She is riding on a horse led by her husband through the woods until her incompetent husband follows the bandit Tajomaru to find some valuable "swords". Although it is important to note that every story was different and there is no clear-cut truth, in every version told, the woman had been raped. I contend that the woman in the movie only acted within the limits of the society that she lives in. Despite the fact that she was at the mercy of first an incompetent husband, then second, a bandit who raped her, in the woodcutters story, she used her reasoning to turn the two men against each other, rather than allow them to shame her in a society that places high value on honor and proper conduct etc. The woman did what she had to do to survive, and succeeded, despite the hand she was dealt. In every version of the story this is true.
Ted

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AUTHOR: blackmer

TITLE: flickr, an image trove

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DATE: 09/17/2004 01:56:05 PM

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I've been exploring the riches of Flickr, an image-based social software app. Turns out you can search by the tags people have attached to uploaded images, like

Tokyo (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/tokyo)

Japan


China

Korea


Sarawak

Shanghai


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