“Homo homini lupus”

“Man is a wolf to man”

 

The Roman phrase is attributed to the playwright Titus Maccius Plautus in 195 BC from his play “Asinaria (The One with the Asses)”.

The time he is attributed this phrase is odd when you consider that he died in 184 BC… oh wait never mind.

In either event when we consider the various wars, crimes, and atrocities, committed and still being committed around the world, this phrase evokes a very distinct feeling: that people are cruel to each other. Even in a scientific light, the idea that the major predator to humanity is humanity itself shows through in this phrase. The fairytales of bloodthirsty wolves hunting humans or monstrous demons preying on us through the will of cruel gods might have been prevalent in  Plautus’s time (dispite the similarities between ourselves and Romans) but in today’s world the thought that man is the consumer of man seems to embody the abysmal nature of our race upon the earth.

It is through this phrase that we look back on the struggle and pain we have inflicted on ourselves.

Plautus: wrote play with several asses involved. Said cool shit.

Plautus: wrote play with several asses involved. Said cool shit.

But perhaps the phrase is not so simple,

Man is a wolf to man has a very unique possibility for a Roman because of the well known story of Romulus and Remus. The jist being that the Cane-and-Able-esque twins who began the Roman culture (and in fact show the notion that in order to hold power you must betray a brother) were left as orphans in the wilderness but taken under the wing of a wolf mother (no relation to the band). The story and many artistic pieces show the twins sucking at their adoptive mother’s teat.

In that sense “man is a wolf to man” could also be seen in the sense that man is a mother to man.

In this understanding (and in all writing before the modern era) the word “man” refers to all humanity.

Humanity is a Wolf to Humanity may be PC but it just doesn’t have the same ring. The essence being that the same could apply if it was Woman is a wolf to Woman.

I realize there are some inherentcies I’m making but I didn’t come up with the phrase.


Humanity is a predator to humanity
but Humanity is a mother to humanity

We kill each other, but we gain sustenance from each other. We hate each other, but we love each other. We resist each other, but we need each other. We end each other and we create each other. Which does in fact sum up the paradox of humanity.
If there were not so many people maybe less people would be murdured….But then we might get eaten by wolves.

 

Wolf: Can beat you in a bare hand fight. Apparent soft spot for roman babies.

Wolf: Apparent soft spot for roman babies. Can beat you in a fight.

 

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Movies

There was a time when movies had an exhibition, characters were well developed with complex traits. They were dynamic and didn’t just fill some archetype even if they were the anti-hero or the Villain. Action was built up so that when a gun was drawn or the strike of steel clashed, audiences saw it drive the story and invested in what would happen. The movies of the 40’s or even the 90’s didn’t have CGI or special effects. It took ingenuity and cinematography to pull off a believable shot, and the humanity in the story was what counted.

I’m not badmouthing CGI I think that it can really make things happen that previously could have never been done. And older movies have their pinnacles, but not all of them were gems.

Never the less, CGI isn’t a get out of jail free card. The hobbit (1 and 2), Tin tin, and the Scroge movie with Jim carry among many other culprits have make the fatal flaw of sacrificing story for extended action scenes.

I just saw the Hobbit 2 so I’ll use it as an example. If you compiled all the scenes of elves jumping everywhere, Orcs and Wargs just being evil, Smauge getting trapped in wires and cables, and Barrel riding, you’d have a 3+ hour movie down to, maybe an hour. The scenes were predictable because there wasn’t the most brilliant writing or interesting character dynamics. It was “where can we get to the next plot point to incorporate a CGI battle/chase scene”.  The parts that aren’t numbingly complex and fast action scenes are slow and predictable because the characters are transparent. I’m not even going to get into what plot points were changed because The first trilogy changed things from the books too.

And lets compare the two trilogies (as they are now). I know it’s not fair because the Lord of the Rings was groundbreaking, well written and they stood alone as great films. But I’m just going to stress the point that they did more with less aiding them. Lets not forget that there was plenty of CGI in the lord of the rings movies. Not the crazy stuff now, but 2001 CGI which was painfully less advanced. The difference is how they employed it.

If you look at the Balrog scene “You shall not pass”. The Balrog is CGI. But the color scheme covered up the fact. The Dark shadows and the Bright orange flame. Armies ready for battle from a distance. The story still had to drive those movies and the believability of it was helped when  pointless action wasn’t the main focus.

I mean why would you care about a dramatic exchange of dialog between two main characters when you can see a dragon become encased in gold?

You cant blame a tool for mistakes and having action for the expense of story doesn’t help your movie become great.