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Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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Nirvanam
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Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#1 Post by Nirvanam » June 8th, 2010, 9:19 pm

This thread is a question regarding Humanism. All I have been able to understand about the general perception-structure of people adhering to Humanism is basically from the interaction in this forum. It was only about 2-3 months before I joined the group around a year back that I heard of Humanism.

Based on what I've been able to infer and hence form an opinion about Humanism and Humanists, a prejudice has formed in my mind. Please don't read the word 'prejudice' with a negative connotation. To give you an example of another prejudice I have...most westerners cannot eat spicy, chilly, hot food. Based on this prejudice when a westerner wants to try some Indian food I always warn them which dish will be too hot, which won't be. If I notice that a particular individual is comfortable with spicy food then my prejudice of that individual is gone because experience is to the contrary. However the general prejudice still remains and will continue to remain until I have enough experiences of westerners finding Indian food bearably spicy. Once that happens, the prejudice changes form to a prejudice that 'westerners are comfortable with spicy food'. Hope this example clarifies what I mean by prejudice.

I have a prejudice that Humanists are highly logical oriented, and try to be rational most of the times. However, I also notice that because of the heavy focus on logic and reasoning they are not too comfortable with fantasy. Mythology is basically fantastic representations of events (true or not). Since this not-readily-liking-fantasy trait is common in Humanists, I wanted to know if many Humanists would encourage viewing cartoons, mythological stories played on cartoon channels?

The way I look at this is: fantasy which is the primary tool of mythology, is a tool that humanity uses to pass across morals, information, knowledge, and in deed wisdom. If religion and mythology sound irrational and ineffective then the same tool when used in cartoons also must be irrational and ineffective.

Given the above, in case you encourage or don't mind your children or other kids watching cartoons, then why not religion and mythology? Also, do you believe fantasy is a good tool for humanity? If yes, why? If not, why not?

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grammar king
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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#2 Post by grammar king » June 8th, 2010, 11:13 pm

I don't know about that. You're right that many humanists like logic and most will pride themselves on being rational, but it doesn't follow that they don't like fantasy, just that it has its place. I like a lot of science fiction and I'm studying for a degree in foreign literature, if I don't like fantasy I'm in the wrong course! I would have no problem with children watching cartoons, at least not from that standpoint.

Fia
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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#3 Post by Fia » June 8th, 2010, 11:37 pm

I never encouraged my children to watch cartoons, or even TV for that matter. Too easy to use it as an uninteractive babysitter imho. There were no cartoon channels when they we wee anyway. I can't think of any
mythological stories played on cartoon channels
but reckon no child could be hurt by watching say, Shaun the Sheep, or indeed anything by Nick Park, apart perhaps from being squashed by a cuddly Mum in helpless laughter :hilarity:

I think storytelling has a huge place in all human societies, from family stories to whole planet stories which illustrate understanding, social mores and more. An element of good storytelling is about recognisable people who overcome hardship, disaster, bad choices, misfortune etc and become wiser because of it. But I am not comfortable with fantasy as a tool for disseminating information and moral codes. Where's the recognition, the human factor?

A problem with mythology is that it can be embraced by those who claim and distort it for their own ends e.g. justifying social inequalities.

I did hugely enjoy science fiction in my teens, but think that's more because i was looking for alternative ways to live from the mess I found around me. And some were great for making you think, like "I, Robot" and "Stranger in a Strange Land" and "The Mote in God's Eye" (the most alien aliens ever...) But these stories are neither fantasy nor mythology...

Oh, and I love Indian food :D

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grammar king
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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#4 Post by grammar king » June 9th, 2010, 5:06 am

Fia wrote:I think storytelling has a huge place in all human societies, from family stories to whole planet stories which illustrate understanding, social mores and more. An element of good storytelling is about recognisable people who overcome hardship, disaster, bad choices, misfortune etc and become wiser because of it. But I am not comfortable with fantasy as a tool for disseminating information and moral codes. Where's the recognition, the human factor?
I think fantasy has its place, and is sometimes much more effective than just coming straight out and saying it. Consider the example (if you know it) of the X-Men movies. The trailers for all three parts are here, although they're not so informative about the storylines. There are fairly subtle parallels between the mutations in the film and homosexuality; it is explained in the first film that the effects of the mutations appear at puberty, often the mutants are forced to hide who they really are, in the third film they try to develop a cure for the mutations, etc. Now a homophobe might identify with the mutants in the films and realise that they're mistaken in their belief, but if someone just made an argument against homophobia they would be unlikely to listen.

To quote V for Vendetta, another brilliant piece of fantasy, the lies found in fiction and fantasy can be used to tell great truths, and they can be particularly effective during times when it's more difficult to tell that truth in the usual ways, such as under censorship for example. There was a brilliant Spanish writer called Mariano Jose de Larra, and he wrote under the reign of Fernando VII, who was a brutal dictator. To get around the censors, he wrote theatre criticism, but as he was commenting on a play, in reality the comment was about society and politics. Another way that a lie can tell the truth.

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#5 Post by Marian » June 9th, 2010, 5:30 pm

Nirvanam wrote: I have a prejudice that Humanists are highly logical oriented, and try to be rational most of the times. However, I also notice that because of the heavy focus on logic and reasoning they are not too comfortable with fantasy. Mythology is basically fantastic representations of events (true or not). Since this not-readily-liking-fantasy trait is common in Humanists, I wanted to know if many Humanists would encourage viewing cartoons, mythological stories played on cartoon channels?
Not sure if you can generalize to all humanists that we don't like fantasy but speaking for myself, I think there is a distinction between TV cartoons and mythology and fantasy,even though they often are used interchangeably.
Just as I am discriminating in my taste of food (I'll fit your stereotype of a westerner who dislikes spicy food :) ), movies and books, I equally demand a high standard for TV programs. As you've likely guessed, I watch little to no TV. Why? Because it's mostly crap! :)

Not much has changed in the last decade in terms of improving standards so if I were to have children now, I wouldn't even get a TV until they were significantly older. We'd be outdoors or reading together. Any cartoons, if I were later persuaded to get a TV, would be vetted first and what is most likely is that I would watch the cartoons with my kids and talk about what they were seeing and how that translates to real life. Thinking comes first. Escapism much later. Running away from reality(our uncomfortable thoughts, pain, boredom etc) doesn't make reality ultimately disappear; we're here for a very short time, might as well face it all. :)

Nirvanam wrote:The way I look at this is: fantasy which is the primary tool of mythology, is a tool that humanity uses to pass across morals, information, knowledge, and in deed wisdom. If religion and mythology sound irrational and ineffective then the same tool when used in cartoons also must be irrational and ineffective.
Fantasy is one tool in which mythology can be transmitted but the same can be said of story-telling and poetry for example. None of these have to be irrational or ineffective depending on their ultimate aim ie. teaching people to think.
One could think of religion, say xianity, as just a series of stories transmitted through the bible but I have to look at why they were created and perpetuated to understand there's more to the picture in terms of controlling people, having them turn away from conscious, rational thought etc.

My favourite fantasy series is: Forgotten Realms -The Legend of Drizzt by R.A. Salvatore. It incorporates a commentary about conformity, ostracism, life choices and morality into a terrific storyline with wonderful imaginative characters.
Transformative fire...

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#6 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » June 9th, 2010, 6:33 pm

Nirvanam wrote:To give you an example of another prejudice I have...most westerners cannot eat spicy, chilly, hot food. Based on this prejudice when a westerner wants to try some Indian food I always warn them which dish will be too hot, which won't be. If I notice that a particular individual is comfortable with spicy food then my prejudice of that individual is gone because experience is to the contrary. However the general prejudice still remains and will continue to remain until I have enough experiences of westerners finding Indian food bearably spicy. Once that happens, the prejudice changes form to a prejudice that 'westerners are comfortable with spicy food'. Hope this example clarifies what I mean by prejudice.
Yes, it does, but I think you are using the word incorrectly. At worst, you are generalising. Your conclusion may be correct or incorrect. It's probably based on too small a sample, but that doesn't make it a prejudice. It would be a prejudice if you assumed that every single Westerner you met was unable to tolerate hot spicy food. Your sensible caution, based on your observation that most Westerners you've met cannot tolerate hot spicy food, is not a prejudice. I am one of those Westerners who loves spicy food but with whom, sadly, chilli does not altogether agree, so I would find your warnings extremely helpful. :D
Nirvanam wrote:I have a prejudice that Humanists are highly logical oriented, and try to be rational most of the times. However, I also notice that because of the heavy focus on logic and reasoning they are not too comfortable with fantasy.
Where do you notice this? It's not something I've noticed.
Nirvanam wrote:Mythology is basically fantastic representations of events (true or not). Since this not-readily-liking-fantasy trait is common in Humanists, I wanted to know if many Humanists would encourage viewing cartoons, mythological stories played on cartoon channels?
If I had children, what I would want to encourage is their imaginations. I think that teaching children to believe that certain old, stale myths [---][/---] the baby Jesus was born in a manger in a stable on 25 December; Santa Claus/Father Christmas brings gifts to good little children on Christmas Day, etc. [---][/---] are true is wrong, but I also think that the repeated telling of such myths stifles the imagination. And I think that's a terrible shame. There are so many stories out there, so many myths, so many fantasies, and there are also plenty of true stories, wonderful stories about nature that capture the imagination. If I had children, I'd like to encourage them to read (and watch, and listen to) as great a variety of those stories as possible. A steady diet of one or two particular children's cartoons would not be ideal. But neither would a steady diet of science programmes. Variety is the hot, pungent spice of life.
Nirvanam wrote:The way I look at this is: fantasy which is the primary tool of mythology, is a tool that humanity uses to pass across morals, information, knowledge, and in deed wisdom. If religion and mythology sound irrational and ineffective then the same tool when used in cartoons also must be irrational and ineffective.
I don't think that religion is ineffective in propagating morals. In fact, a lot of the time I think it's all too effective. The problem is that religion, and mythology, and fiction generally, can be effective vehicles for misinformation and cruelty and stupidity, as well as knowledge and morality and wisdom. It is important to be selective. It is also important to make clear the difference between fact and fiction. If religious scriptures were presented as fiction, as mythology, then I would have little objection to their being taught in school alongside other mythology. And I would even accept that they could be valuable (again, if used selectively). Aesop's Fables have never been taken literally, as far as I know.

A few years ago, I thought it would be a nice idea to make a collection of fables for children that did not contain gods or monsters, or talking animals, or magic, but that would still be entertaining, and perhaps have a moral or two. I don't think I got very far. But I do remember that pride of place was to go to one famous story: "The Emperor's New Clothes", by Hans Christian Andersen. Still one of my favourites. :D

Emma

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#7 Post by Nirvanam » June 13th, 2010, 8:27 pm

People, thanks for your responses.

Although my observation about lesser imagination among Humanists is something that can neither be proved nor disproved, I think your responses indicate that this trait does not have anything to do with the trait of not being very open to religious myths.

Regarding the fact that some of your feel that you'd probably not want your children or kids in general watching religious stuff on TV or for that matter TV itself...wouldn't you think that is in some way depriving those kids of a subject or facet of life that they maybe able to relate to?

From my own experience, although my dad would be a little strict during exam times and not let me watch TV when I was in school, he generally did not have a problem with me watching TV. Also the programs that I used to see on TV, while growing up, were generally better quality ones. I think many Indians of my age group would feel the same because when we were growing up...until I was in my 10th grade we had just one channel on TV. And that too it wasn't even 24 hrs! Would be on at around 6 PM in the evening and out by about 12 PM. Sundays it would start in the morning and we had some amazing programs like "Cosmos", some entertainment ones like Star Trek, and historical ones too. So that way I don't think TV could have influenced me badly at all...whatever TV was there, it was usually informative or of quality entertainment.

But you guys must have had multiple channels since the 60's and 70's so I can understand why TV would truly be an idiot box. Since early-mid 90's we started having cable and different channels...24 hr news channels, sports channels, cartoon channels, music channels...and the kids who grew up in that period were a little more knowledgeable than my age group...I guess it was the positive effect of information overload. But the kids growing up in the noughties here are the idiot box kids...lol!

I'd not deprive kids of watching TV...the idiot box can also be a very informative box...guidance is necessary and that makes the difference. Banning TV serves no purpose I feel.

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#8 Post by ASHEd » July 6th, 2010, 12:12 am

Nevermind the children (for I know none), I'm 19 years old and I watch cartoons and all other sorts of other fantasy children's programs. I'm still hooked on Sooty from when I was young. CBBC and CITV are generally secular so I'm usually very comfortable with them. On CITV there was also a rather stimulating show called 'Prove It!' which encouraged kids to test those statements which are stated as facts.

Usually, there's two sides to my head. That which can take the fantasy and that which is rational. I don't feel I have to prove anything to anyone else by being rational 100% of the time. I think when rationality matters it will appear in the correct places.

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#9 Post by Paolo » July 6th, 2010, 2:21 pm

I would say that I am fairly logical and rational, but I like fantasy. Good fantasy can still be logical and rational, it just has to be rational within the set of universal constants that the creator of the fantasy posits. Fantasy becomes crappy if it breaks its own rules thereby losing its cohesion.

I think that it's the ability to appreciate the difference between fantasy and reality that makes a rationalist and I think that it's easier to make the distinction by being familiar with fantasy. So although I'd rather encourage kids to make their own entertainment, I wouldn't have any problem with them watching cartoons - as long as they realise (or are told) that the cartoons are not the same as real life.

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#10 Post by Compassionist » July 6th, 2010, 3:15 pm

grammar king wrote:I don't know about that. You're right that many humanists like logic and most will pride themselves on being rational, but it doesn't follow that they don't like fantasy, just that it has its place. I like a lot of science fiction and I'm studying for a degree in foreign literature, if I don't like fantasy I'm in the wrong course! I would have no problem with children watching cartoons, at least not from that standpoint.
I have the same view as you. Our five year old son watches lots of cartoons. In fact, we watch them with him sometimes!

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#11 Post by Nick » July 6th, 2010, 3:23 pm

As a cartoon myself :D , I think kids should be able to see cartoons. Obviously, some are better than others, but I have very happy memories of watching Captain Pugwash and Noggin the Nog with my father when I was a wee lad.

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#12 Post by Nirvanam » July 6th, 2010, 4:33 pm

Nick wrote:As a cartoon myself :D , I think kids should be able to see cartoons. Obviously, some are better than others, but I have very happy memories of watching Captain Pugwash and Noggin the Nog with my father when I was a wee lad.
Yes yes yes! Captain Pugwash...wow finally! Man I was trying so hard to recollect who the character was in your picture and now, finally, nirvana!

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#13 Post by Nirvanam » July 6th, 2010, 4:33 pm

ASHEd wrote:Usually, there's two sides to my head. That which can take the fantasy and that which is rational. I don't feel I have to prove anything to anyone else by being rational 100% of the time. I think when rationality matters it will appear in the correct places.
Very well said!

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#14 Post by Nirvanam » July 6th, 2010, 4:57 pm

Paolo wrote:I would say that I am fairly logical and rational, but I like fantasy. Good fantasy can still be logical and rational, it just has to be rational within the set of universal constants that the creator of the fantasy posits. Fantasy becomes crappy if it breaks its own rules thereby losing its cohesion.
I agree with you mostly except the the last sentence...I don't believe that there is any crappy fantasy. Fantasy is just that...it is supposed to seem irrational, illogical, and out of this universe. In fact as an Innovation Professional (TRIZ / Systematic Inventive Thinking) we learn/preach that fantasy is as essential as critical thinking to define, analyze, and solve/invent things.

Like ASHEd's post infers, all human beings have both critical thinking i.e. rational/logical faculty and creative thinking i.e. fantasy/non-rational/seemingly non-logical thinking. At the end of the day when you think outside the box (what they used to call 'lateral thinking' back in the 50's and 60's) and arrive at a solution, the solution can be verified to follow logic and rationales once it is described. However you may not be able to find a solution by just being rational. Why? Because rationality and logic is limited by what we know to be logical/rational at that point in time and space. And we don't know everything.

Like some brain-related professionals call it left brain and right brain. I think it is true...may not be physical...but conceptually we have these 2 distinct faculties which basically are sort of polarities of the same thing i.e. mind. One extreme of mind is logical the other is creative. So in Innovation we basically try to morph the two such that your mind combines effortlessly both logical and creative processes when understanding something or trying to solve something. It is not a balance between the two rather operating at the highest levels possible of both polarities simultaneously. In fact there are tools (i.e. rational and logical methods) to learn to think creatively similarly there are tools that help you fantastically arrive at logical conclusions.
Paolo wrote:I think that it's the ability to appreciate the difference between fantasy and reality that makes a rationalist and I think that it's easier to make the distinction by being familiar with fantasy.
I agree with what you are saying...just a small (unnecessary..lol) point: how do we know what is real? Move around a little and look at it with a different perspective, the concept of this being 'reality' is itself a fantastic imagination, isn't it?
Paolo wrote:

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#15 Post by getreal » July 6th, 2010, 8:41 pm

Nick wrote:As a cartoon myself :D , I think kids should be able to see cartoons. Obviously, some are better than others, but I have very happy memories of watching Captain Pugwash and Noggin the Nog with my father when I was a wee lad.

Wow! Noggin the Nog!! I adored Noggin the Nog. I thought they were telling real stories from the past about Scandinavia. I really thought there used to be dragons living there. Was it Noggin who had a boat which could fly?

I just googled a bit abd discovered there is a bit of a cult thing going on with Noggin. And a postage stamp!!!

Sorry, all dangerously off topic.
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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#16 Post by Alan C. » July 6th, 2010, 11:03 pm

Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?
We don't have any children (our choice) but I'm sure if we did we wouldn't have to "encourage" them to watch cartoons, that's what cartoons are for (kids) and believe it or not the kids get that.
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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#17 Post by ASHEd » July 7th, 2010, 2:06 am

Nirvanam wrote:
ASHEd wrote:Usually, there's two sides to my head. That which can take the fantasy and that which is rational. I don't feel I have to prove anything to anyone else by being rational 100% of the time. I think when rationality matters it will appear in the correct places.
Very well said!
Thank you. :)

I'm often not sure whether I'm just typing incoherent rubbish most of the time or not.

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#18 Post by Nick » July 7th, 2010, 10:33 am

Do you think that Nogbad The Bad went on to play Dastardly in Wacky Races? Same chin, same moustache... Coincidence? I don't think so!

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#19 Post by Nirvanam » July 7th, 2010, 4:21 pm

Alan C. wrote:
Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?
We don't have any children (our choice) but I'm sure if we did we wouldn't have to "encourage" them to watch cartoons, that's what cartoons are for (kids) and believe it or not the kids get that.
Yep, I get what you are saying. In fact even now I don't need encouragement to watch cartoons...my favorite is Tom and Jerry...I love Tom (maybe coz I am Leo I am attracted to cats more), poor chap they mostly make him look bad :sad:

I agree with you that many kids know that cartoons are fantasy. However the best advantage is that they start asking questions why it is not possible and think how they can actually do something like that, and that plants a seed for future innovation

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Re: Do you encourage children to watch cartoons?

#20 Post by andrew_peacock » July 30th, 2010, 7:44 pm

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:If I had children, what I would want to encourage is their imaginations. I think that teaching children to believe that certain old, stale myths [---][/---] the baby Jesus was born in a manger in a stable on 25 December; Santa Claus/Father Christmas brings gifts to good little children on Christmas Day, etc. [---][/---] are true is wrong, but I also think that the repeated telling of such myths stifles the imagination.
One of my daughters asked me a while back what killed Jesus, was it a spinning needle or a poisoned apple?

I think fantasy stories are great for kids. Watching TV is a bit dull though, I would prefer them to be in the garden making mud pies.

But for some reason they do love hearing the same story again and again (and again...) I guess it is more comfortable when you are wee to know in advance that Red Riding Hood will be ok in the end.

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