Augusto Boal- The Aesthetics of the Opressed

"No two rivers run exactly the same course, but water runs in all rivers - whether in the abundant Amazon or the smallest brook in the mountain. Their banks may be different, but all oppress the waters which run between them."


Later speaking about TV and destructive media...

"It is not the violence per se which causes damage to the viewer, but the lack of rationale for this physical activity. When dealing with Rambo and other 'super-heroes' of this sub species, Empathy plays a very dangerous role. Empatheia, in Greek, means the vicarious experience of feelings and thoughts of others - characters in the performing arts, or a real person in daily life. This is especially potent when imposed by the Protagonist in Tragedy or passive spectators.

"When rational foundations of physical acts are not there, Empathy turns into a relationship of pure irrational animality. Continuous intimacy with brutality tends to form brutes. When a person lives in the wild in the company of savage predators, without human presence, how will that person be humanized? Children abandoned in the jungle never learn to smile. Violence in itself is neither good nor bad. Shakespeare is full of such things as the amputation of hands and the piercing of eyes. Violence is bad when unaccompanied by reason, when reduced to blows and punches, or supported only be simplistic, standard pre-conceived ideas. But it can be didactic when rationalized and when its causes and its Ethos are laid bare.

"This type of cinematography owes its mediocrity not to the lack of its authors creativity, but to the deliberate intention, by means of mechanical repetition, to block the intellectual development of its passive audiences, and stunt their capacity to to create and to think in metaphor.

"Stanley Kubrick's marvellous Full Metal Jacket shows with aesthetic perfection the ultra-military process by which peremptory orders to obey and to kill oare implanted in the brains of army recruits. What the talented director demonstrates in this military example is the same process as occurs on TV for civilians, far from civilised as it is."

From The Aesthetics of the Oppresed by Augusto Boal