Jeremy Bentham

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Jeremy Bentham

Post by Moefy on Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:32 am

i was just reading an article on wikipedia called the meaning of life cause i was bored, but strangely enough found a man named jeremy bentham on the article, he explained that Bentham found that "nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure." From this he derived the rule of utility, that the good is whatever brings the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. Later, after realizing that the formulation recognized two different and potentially conflicting principles, he dropped the second part and talked simply about "the greatest happiness principle." i just found this odd seeing as it was on a meaning of life depiction.

I dont know if anyone has looked his name up, i dont really catch on to names on lost but it was a coincendence to me, if you want to see the wikipedia article here is the link -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meaning_of_life(philosophy)
So could john be a more important person than we thought? because they are naming him after a philosopher who talked about 'the meaning of life', or could the island be a place of pain and pleasure? if you have already noticed this i do apologize but it was just a big coincendence to me, thanks reply if you have any ideas.


Last edited by Moefy on Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:53 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : sorry wrong link)
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:53 am

hey

i tend to put a lot into names and have put out two posts focusing on possible connections between the histurical bentham and the plot line, but these are by no means exhautive considering how prolific bentham was and how our interpretation of benham has changed under post structuralisms influence

here are the posts

http://losties.darkbb.com/big-theories-f7/bentham-austin-connections-t524.htm?highlight=bentham

http://losties.darkbb.com/no-spoiler-for-uk-theories-f9/what-could-have-gone-wrong-between-locke-and-bentham-t445.htm?highlight=bentham
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by Moefy on Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:54 am

i cant understand some words ur saying there, i just put this up because it was a coincendence to me, im not trying to outsmart any other posts.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Sun Jun 15, 2008 12:59 am

what are you talking about? i just posted some links if you wanted to check them out. you seemed to be interested
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by StitchExp626 on Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:03 am

It is interesting that Jeremy Bentham became a quite well known person through a book written by a French philosopher, historian and sociologist by the name of Michel Foucault.

Foucault, in 1975, published a book called Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison . A section of this book is devoted to Jeremy Bentham and his design of a prison that would be cheap to run and which would basically get the inmates to police themselves.

Bentham believed that prisoners behaved best when they knew that they were being watched. This is probably not an earth shattering discovery, we all work harder when the supervisor or boss is in the room. But what was significant about Bentham's view was that it would be very expensive a proposition to have every prisoner being watched 24 hours a day. Bet he would have really been blown away by closed circuit television, but that would not have even been science fiction in his day.

Bentham came up with a plan for a prison which is known as a panopticon. The idea is again simple, the prison has a central watch tower, and around this watch tower is built a larger circle of cells all facing the central watch tower.



The prisoner can see the watchtower, but they can not see the prison guards in the watchtower. So they can only assume that they are being observed. In fact it is the perfect place to develop paranoia.

In fact the prison could work effectively with no real prison guards in the tower, it is sense or fear of being watched that will determine the prisoner's behaviour.

Foucault sees that this belief about behaviour and the concept of the panopticon is not one that only applies to prisons:

"But the Panopticon was also a laboratory; it could be used as a machine to carry out experiments, to alter behaviour, to train or correct individuals. To experiment with medicines and monitor their effects. To try out different punishments on prisoners, according to their crimes and character, and to seek the most effective ones. To teach different techniques simultaneously to the workers, to decide which is the best. To try out pedagogical experiments - and in particular to take up once again the well-debated problem of secluded education, by using orphans. "

Foucault, M Discipline and Punish, 1975. Source: http://foucault.info/documents/disciplineAndPunish/foucault.disciplineAndPunish.panOpticism.html

On the island we have seen such experiments conducted by the DI. And off the island paranoia is best expressed by the statement to Hurley that they are being watched.

Jeremy Bentham produced a large amount of work, but it was due to the writings of Foucault in the 1970's that Bentham came back into focus. I think that Bentham may be important as an allusion to his development of the panopticon and its ability to get people to change their behaviour because they suspect, but can never really know for certain, that they are being watched or observed.

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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:16 am

Thanks for bringing that to everyone's attention Stitch.

As your quote indicates Foucault goes as far to claim that the hierarchical power structure of the panopticon is the power structure of modern society (kind of like the moderators on this site! ha).

There have been many posts pointing out that the oceanic symbol looks like an eye, and close up of eyes has been a technique running throughout the show, I wonder if there is a connection to be made between the panopticon and the ever present eye, running throughout the series... maybe the eye is watching us on our couches?


Last edited by retroactiveman on Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:21 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : added content)
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by StitchExp626 on Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:38 am

Retro,

I think that the idea of being watched and observed is a powerful and prevailing motif in the series. The question now becomes who is doing the observing and watching. Sayid believes that he is being watched. This impression is one that seems to be shared by most of the other Oceanic Six: Jack when talking to Kate in the carpark after her trial seemed to be paranoid about the security cameras on the wall, even Hurley and Sun at the cemetary also seemed to be exhibiting some fear of being observed.

I wonder if the Degroots or remnants of the DI are actually behind everything incuding the island, the plane crash, smoke mosters and even Jacob. Maybe the Oceanic Six are the test subjects themselves. If so what is the experiment?


I like your ideas on the Oceanic symbol and the emphasis placed on eyes, it will be interesting to learn more of the function of Jeremy bentham, and why the Oceanic Six were all paranoid about calling him by his real name John Locke. I think that this consistent use of his alias is further proof that all of the Oceanic Six believed that they were somehow being watched and listened too.

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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:16 am

Stitch,

That last point re the consistent use of the Bentham alias is a good one. It definitely is odd that Kate and Jack use alias.

In one of my previous posts on Bentham, I tried to point out similarities and disinctions between Bentham and Locke. Bottom line: Bentham is Locke's successor in empiricism, but while Locke's inalienable rights is quirky, Locke might be shocked at the implemenation of utility, as you point out, through hierarchical normativism (via the panopticon) and other devices, such as the formulation of the average man standard for determining maximum utility: inalienable rights are obscurred through insistence on maximum utility.

Ive been trying to tie the island to the mainland as the head is tied to the body. The culture of surveillance the bentham founded may be flourising on the island malgre Bentham's predecessor, Locke.

Now, we live in a culture of surveillance. Would it be fair to say that the O Six live in the culture of surveillance? When one is supervised, one's path is assurred, because supervision demands the path one follows. Jack is emblematic of self surveillance. He is a doctor, he is demanding of himself, and he pushes himself to conform to certain societal standards (for example, he pushes for the idea of marriage even in the face of a failing marriage).

In short, superficially, Jack is everything that society (the normative hierarchy) requires to be successful, and superhandsome to boot! Society requires, he complies.

What would be the effect of this aspect of surveillance, that Bentham represents, dying? Without the assurance of self surveillance, this would lead to self doubt, because the path wouldn't be clear.

[Aside: it is interesting, now that I'm thinking about it, that Bentham committs suicide; isnt suicide how post structuralism / Foucault operates: through emphasising the structure of philosophies in conext to the broader world and implications of structure, does not post structuralism force suicide of the original, cause the original to get hung up in his or her own discourse? This would place Ben in the Foucault role. What would be really interesting is if post structuralism and the original (the Bentham figure) were operating together, faking the suicide. Maybe this is the post of post structuralism, the ressurection of power structures to establish a new discourse?]

I think it might be more than an alias, I think it might be suggestive of the identity of who he has become, what empiricism has become and how empiricism is used in the world. And I think that the show by introducing Bentham is introducing a dystopian critique of the world that we live in. And by asking Jack to "go back", we are not just speaking of a place, but a time, and we are asking him to introduce a new relation with history to us, one that does something different than merely accept historical progress or forced stereotypes of becoming as inevitable. Whether or not Jack will merely be the sacrifice for the future children (Aaron, Walt, Ji Yeon) one will see.

Rm


Last edited by retroactiveman on Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:44 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : content)
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by StitchExp626 on Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:48 am

The post-modernists argue that modernity with its promise of a better, cleaner, pure, technological world is a myth.

The idea that their exists any universal rights can be discounted by the fact that so many people in society have these rights removed eg the criminal and the insane. They seem to have no rights at all! The argument for universal rights fails in a society that deprives these rights from just one, let alone a sector!

What was life in the modern society? Mental asylums and prisons: life in modern times is nothing to speak of!

What about life in Victorian times? Workhouses?
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by MollyCocktail on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:04 pm

StitchExp626 wrote:

I think that the idea of being watched and observed is a powerful and prevailing motif in the series.

Stitch, this is exactly why I believe that scene with Jack in the rescue boat is deliberately weird and grainy.
It seemed to me that he was being watched by someone or something. It had the look and feel of a crude television screen or monitor. Many argued that the directors and writers simply spliced an extra piece of footage in there to fill time or because they needed an extra shot. I disagree. NOTHING happens in the LOST universe by accident.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:06 pm

Stitch, I agree. Any discourse of power is tied to the context that produces it. That's what I was trying to alude to in alluding that Bentham hangs himself or post structuralism, through Foucault, allows Bentham to hang himself (the real Bentham) by showing fractures within Bentham's discourse and the broader context in which the discourse locates itself. Foucault's reading of the panopticon is broader than the prison, but is in fact the power structure of the modern world, including self surveillance and pressure to conform. The panopticon has moved from the modern world into my mind. Jack is the hero of our world, because the power system asks and he conforms.

Re the universal rights: the argument you make is a libertarian argument; the utilitarian identifies any legislatively created, ie posited, right, with what that legislatively right promises to the greatest good, so it only makes sense for the utilitarian project to exclude such outsiders such as the criminal and the insane from rights, as those rights are for the benefit of the society, of which these outsiders are not a part of.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by lostlikeyou on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:14 pm

I really like this idea that the losties on and off the island are maybe being watched...it kind of goes along with the whole Dharma/experimenting theme of the show.

Retro...can I make a suggestion? Your posts are very well thought out and I really enjoy reading them. The problem is half the time I can't follow what you are saying. For me, they are not easy to read. Not that I can't read BIG words, because I can. I read all the time. I almost feel like I have to have some backround knowledge about what you are talking about, which I don't. I can only speak for myself but I really wish I could understand more of what you are writing about! Please don't take offense to this as it is not intended that way. Like I said, I really enjoy reading your posts but boy is it a lot of work!!

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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by lostlikeyou on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:15 pm

Molly your right on!

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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by MollyCocktail on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:17 pm

lostlikeyou wrote:Molly your right on!

::blushes::

Gracias amigo!
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:29 pm

LLY: no offense taken! I know Im an idiot. I'll try better in the future.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by Caged_Faraday on Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:03 pm

I know it's been said elsewhere, but I would be remiss in not pointing out, in a discussion of Bentham, that the "blast door map" shows 7 stations + the Pearl functioning as a perfect panopticon, both in layout, and based on the function of the Pearl Station itself.


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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by StitchExp626 on Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:39 am

Hey Cf that is a very good observation. I think that dharma stations involve a lot of surveilance and monitoring.

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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by vincentthedog on Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:51 pm

WOW I just learnd a lot.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Tue Jun 17, 2008 2:12 am



This is the auto-icon. For those of you interested in all the gruesome details. Feel free to check out jbentham.com or google it. A friend of mine in college told me that after Bentham died, he put it in his will that he would be embalmed, preserved in wax and then rolled out every year so that he could 'participate' in some college board of directors meeting, so he could supervise.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by retroactiveman on Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:32 pm

RE the pearl, if it turns out that Locke/Bentham ends up utilizing the Pearl as panopticon, or implementing the panopticon period, how much of a change that would be from when Locke first encountered the Panopticon, almost bringing his "faith" to a standstill.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by AngeloComet on Tue Jun 17, 2008 11:47 pm

Point of note about The Pearl: The monitoring station was being monitored.

Remember when Locke and Eko found the place, and a camera watching the chairs and the monitors had been revealed, with wires hanging out? That looked to me like the inhabitants of The Pearl had pulled all the casing away from the hidden camera and discovered they were being watched.

I figured this was another layer of observation, or just a note of irony, that ought to be brought into this conversation.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by solarchap on Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:39 am

good spot AC, I never even gave a second thought to the wires hanging out, but that makes total sense.
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by emzi on Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:21 pm

MollyCocktail wrote:
StitchExp626 wrote:

I think that the idea of being watched and observed is a powerful and prevailing motif in the series.

Stitch, this is exactly why I believe that scene with Jack in the rescue boat is deliberately weird and grainy.
It seemed to me that he was being watched by someone or something. It had the look and feel of a crude television screen or monitor. Many argued that the directors and writers simply spliced an extra piece of footage in there to fill time or because they needed an extra shot. I disagree. NOTHING happens in the LOST universe by accident.

Now that you mention it, I did notice some weird camera work on a shot of Hurly in the helicopter, almost like a TV or Monitor like you said. I watched the episode a few times and noticed it everytime, and I think if it wasn't supposed to look like that the editors would've smartened it up.

Smile

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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by Lateralus on Wed Jun 18, 2008 7:52 pm

It looked to me like they had a particular shot, then they zoomed in on the digital frames so they could just get Jacks face, and not Jack and someone else in the frame. Just some digital camera work i figured. Maybe in that one shot, the other peoples positions in the raft were out of continuity with the shot previous and the one following.
I never really thought about it being a moniter of some sort. That brings to mind the "camera in Jins tombstone" theory posts i've read before.

I do however like the idea that the 0-6 are all being monitered and followed.(the guy staking out Hurley's asylum and so on).
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Re: Jeremy Bentham

Post by Caged_Faraday on Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:53 pm

Anyone remember the first interrogation scene in the original Matrix, where the shot starts as if it's being watched on a yellowing monitor, until it zooms through the screen, and eventually is in the (yellowy) room with Keanu and Hugo? It reminded me of that.

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