The Moral Imagination -  Michael Matheson Miller
The Moral Imagination
Ep. 51 Titus Techera: Dune and Bladerunner Science Fiction, Dystopia and Humanity in American Life
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Ep. 51 Titus Techera: Dune and Bladerunner Science Fiction, Dystopia and Humanity in American Life

Podcast on Dune, Bladerunner, science fiction, dystopian film, technocratic view of humanity, and the formative power of science fiction on the imagination.

In this episode I speak with Titus Techera about Dune, Bladerunner, science fiction, dystopian film, technocratic view of humanity, and the formative power of science fiction on the imagination. We discuss contemporary technological society, social breakdown, loneliness, men and women and decline in marriage, technology and trans-humanism/ transgenderism, and the predictive power of dystopian film. We talk about what it means to be human and the relationship between digital technology and humanity. Titus argues that much of sport, military, modern manliness and excellence has been reduced to science and creatures of technology.

He argues that one of the “catalysts for science fiction stories is disappointment with the world. The dead hand of the past is too powerful. People are always a problem; tradition gets in the way of radical innovation. Science fiction is aware of the problem of our decadence, but technical daring can solve it.” And yet in the science fiction societies like Bladerunner there is a wealthy technical class amidst brutality, societal decline where everyone has lost their humanity.

He writes

As with all science fiction set in the near future, Blade Runner is an attempt to make us look at ourselves as though we were strangers to ourselves, allowing for the possibility that serious changes can come suddenly and overcome our beliefs or preferences. Could we end up like Deckard, Harrison Ford’s character, a bounty hunter, or “blade runner?”

We need not embrace this kind of despair, but only need understand its appeal. The social landscape of Blade Runner seems plausible enough. The film presents American cities overrun by crime and poverty while technological corporations become immensely wealthy… A suitably dramatic expression of something we see around us quite often; indeed, perhaps exaggeration is necessary, since we have an excusable, but unfortunate tendency to ignore the misery of American cities.

Themes we discuss include

  • Science and scientism,

  • Atheism and religion,

  • Nihilism and utopianism,

  • Social engineering of people,

  • Medicine

  • Covid pandemic and vaccine mandates

  • Tension between scientific progress in digital technology and scientific and technological stagnation in other areas.

  • Jordan Peterson

  • Contemporary interest in stoicism

  • Utiltarianism and hedonism

  • Sports and Science

  • Spiderman

Biography

Titus Techera is the executive director of the American Cinema Foundation, host of the ACF podcasts, a film critic for Law & Liberty and the Acton Institute, contributor to Modern Age, columnist for Return and European Conservative, and editor-in-chief of PostModern Conservative. Techera studied liberal arts at Bard College Berlin and political science at the University of Bucharest and the Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

Resources

Titus Techera essay: The Tale of Two Dunes

Titus Techera essay on Bladerunner

Follow Titus on Twitter

Listen to the ACF Film Podcast

Titus Techera Substack

Titus Techera on Novak Djokovic, Excellence, and Covid Rules

Caveats: These science fiction books and films because they deal with dystopian futures and social decadence have material that is not suitable for children.

Dune

By Herbert, Frank

The Flight from Woman

By Stern, Karl

The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World

By Iain McGilchrist

Dune

Starring Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Zendaya, Chang Chen, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Charlotte Rampling, Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joe Turkel, Joanna Cassidy

The Four Loves

By Lewis, C. S.

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The Moral Imagination -  Michael Matheson Miller
The Moral Imagination
Welcome to the Moral Imagination Podcast.
The overarching theme of my podcast is what it means to be a human person and what makes for a meaningful and good life.
We will discuss philosophy of the human person, culture, religion, social philosophy, and many other related topics, like education, learning, economics, food, technology, artificial intelligence, and intellectual history. My goal is to interact with ideas and people whose work I find challenging, and intellectually and socially important.