Andreas Thesis Outline

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[Andreas: 13.11.2019]

Thesis Outline Third Draft

I. Introduction

Steve suggests: Make each section into 1500 words allocate 1000 words on your own work =6000 words. Then you have 2000 for an intro and conclusion.

Background:
Many people of the western first world state that they do not want to talk about nowadays news/politics because they know too little about it. A study conducted 2016 by NORC claims that it actually is easier to find information, but one is quickly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information one has to cope with. Does society really have a lower attention span because they are exposed to much more information? Would the concept of brevity – properly applied to the moving image– help the viewer regain attention for information that matters?

Thesis Statement:
Properly applied to the moving image, the concept of brevity can help the viewer regain attention for information that matters.

II. Body

First Topic: The history of the brevity discourse

Different kinds of historical accounts shape our understandings and assumptions about technology.
1) Cicero vs Quintilian: boring the audience vs keeping something from the audience
Cicero is defining brevitas on the values ‘as much as necessary’ and ‘not more than needed’. Therefore brevitas is existing if not a word more than the necessary is being used. To keep the listener mesmerised a middle course shall be kept in the narration. But who is defining what is necessary? When is a word or a passage an abtum or a decorum? For Cicero the diffuseness, or the garrulity of a speech is a danger. After all the attention of the recipient shall not be lost. For Quintilian the shortness is a danger: instead of shortening everything at the cost of understandability, one shall rather bring up more content. Shortening would be a selection- and manipulation itself, according to Quintilian. Instead the following could be used as a rule: reduction of complexity, that is meeting the requirements.
2) Aristotle: brevity in an appropriate manner
Aristoteles demanded in his rhetorics not categorical brevity, but in an appropriate manner – similar to Cicero and Qunitilian are defining the oration. Not the good or bad, but the moderate oration. Indoxa shall be skipped, because the listener can easily complete them. Since the argumentatio requires the narratio over the course of the classical argument, there are following rules for the speaker: it has to be short, clear and presumable so that it can build up its instructive dimension within the speech, that aims on persuasion.
3) Scientific communication
Even in the scientific communication a row of new forms of mediation have been introduced: in addition to ‘classic’ publications like books or magazine articles, blogs and social media are appearing. Evening-lectures are being expanded to Science-Slams, Pecha Kucha-nights or FameLabs. Conferences are increasingly using sharing-concepts and participative formats like fishbowls, roundtables or barcamps. This tendency is often perceived critically by scientists and recipients. Because these new formats are intensifying a basic problem of scientific communication: the urge, to cope with a topic within a limited mass of text or in a limited amount of time – the constraint to a short, concise form. Which formats can scientists, in the sense of serious mediation, be taken responsible for? Isn't scientific content too complex, to be displayed in just 140 (or even 280) characters, in ten minutes or six pictures? Or is science loosing public relevance if it is refusing the demand on brevity and participation?

Second Topic: How the human brain processes information

The Science of Gaining Focus
1) The two brain systems (according to Daniel Kahneman)
The central argument of Kahneman is that there are two types of thinking: System 1 that is fast, intuitive and emotional and System 2 that is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman is describing a series of experiments, that show the differences between the two thought processes and is showing how both systems often end up in different results.
2) How distraction works (according to Daniel Goleman)
There are two varieties of distractions: sensory and emotional. Sensory distractions are popups on the computer screen or the loud construction work outside. Sensory distraction can be avoided by paying attention. William James, a founder of America psychology, wrote a century or so ago that attention comes down to the mind’s eye noticing clearly ‘one of what seems several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought.’ Emotional distractions are much harder to avoid. If something triggers a strong reaction – annoyance or anger, anxiety or even fearfulness – that distraction will instantly become the focus of your thoughts, no matter what you’re trying to focus on.
3) is distraction necessarily a bad thing?
The process of feeling bad about distraction is something that became more present through the optimization of work life in the capitalist world. Whether you call it procrastination or laziness: it is interesting to take a look on why the brain is getting easily distracted and how to purposely encourage distraction.
4) Regaining focus (Autonomy, Resources, Time, Meditation, Nature and Joy)

Third Topic: Applying the brevity discourse to the moving image

How do changing parameters in the moving image affect communication
1) The accelerated image

Netflix is now offering a test version for android users in which one can watch movies and shows in 1.5-speed. This thrill of speed is interesting. We don’t know yet if this feature will be open for all users, but just the thought of this being available should make us wonder. The art-hostility does not seem to know any borders. Whoever is aware of – what the right edit/cut means to the film, how much milliseconds matter for the rhythm in a movie – can only shake his head. Big directors owe their editors a lot. One should only keep in mind Tarantino and his – sadly too early deceased – editor Sally Menke. We can’t imagine how important she was for the brilliancy of his movies. Or if we think of comedies: how punchlines are being timed. Pauses play a very important role in delivering these punchlines. One can’t just fast-forward to that. Of course, some movies would be better if you would have shortened them, but not if you accelerated them. Slowness or tediousness can be very intended. Being on one’s way, aimlessly, random, can be the theme of a movie. Let’s just take Easy Rider as an example, where Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper are on their motorcycles. One could argue that they could just take a plane, but that’s the misconception that comes with the accelerated society. Participation and interaction have become such fashionable features nowadays. Through the acceleration-feature of Netflix, the participation of the audience is becoming an intrusion on the content. It seems that it’s not acceptable anymore that a piece of work is just as it is. It is being perceived as undemocratic if a work is denying itself from these participatory elements. The viewer is more and more seeing the work as a product that is living up to the consumer, but no one is asking whether the viewer is living up to the work. Watching movies faster – what is already happening outside of Netflix – for example at platforms like YouTube, is unveiling several shifted ideologies that exist nowadays.

2) Density of information in news programs

3) The moving image in social media

III. Conclusion

From ancient times to the modern era the rhetoric has been the binding and constant guideline of communication. Nowadays there is less new in the rhetoric, even though the complexity of content has increased. Also, there seems to be a dominance of the visual in the ‘screen-’ or ‘display culture’.
There is a need for tools, methods and infrastructures to ensure that we can regain focus and fully take part again in a political discourse

‘But at the present day it is absurdly laid down that the narrative should be rapid. And yet, as the man said to the baker when he asked whether he was to knead bread hard or soft, “What! is it impossible to knead it well?” so it is in this case; for the narrative must not be long, nor the exordium, nor the proofs either. For in this case also propriety does not consist either in rapidity or conciseness, but in a due mean; that is, one must say all that will make the facts clear,’

Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vol. 22, translated by J. H. Freese. Aristotle. Cambridge and London. Harvard University Press; William Heinemann Ltd. 1926.


Thesis Outline Second Draft

I. Introduction

Background:
Many people of the western first world state that they do not want to talk about nowadays news/politics because they know too little about it. A study conducted 2016 by NORC claims that it actually is easier to find information, but one is quickly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information one has to cope with. Does society really have a lower attention span because they are exposed to much more information? Would the concept of brevity – properly applied to the moving image– help the viewer regain attention for information that matters?

Thesis Statement:
I want to research how the brevity discourse can be applied to the moving image.

II. Body

First Topic: The history of the brevity discourse

Different kinds of historical accounts shape our understandings and assumptions about technology.
1) Cicero vs Quintilian: boring the audience vs keeping something from the audience
Cicero is defining brevitas on the values „as much as necessary“ and „not more than needed“. Therefore brevitas is existing if not a word more than the necessary is being used. To keep the listener mesmerised a middle course shall be kept in the narration. But who is defining what is necessary? When is a word or a passage an abtum or a decorum? For Cicero the diffuseness, or the garrulity of a speech is a danger. After all the attention of the recipient shall not be lost. For Quintilian the shortness is a danger: instead of shortening everything at the cost of understandability, one shall rather bring up more content. Shortening would be a selection- and manipulation itself, according to Quintilian. Instead the following could be used as a rule: reduction of complexity, that is meeting the requirements.
2) Aristotle: brevity in an appropriate manner
Aristoteles demanded in his rhetorics not categorical brevity, but in an appropriate manner – similar to Cicero and Qunitilian are defining the oration. Not the good or bad, but the moderate oration. Indoxa shall be skipped, because the listener can easily complete them. Since the argumentatio requires the narratio over the course of the classical argument, there are following rules for the speaker: it has to be short, clear and presumable so that it can build up its instructive dimension within the speech, that aims on persuasion.
3) Scientific communication
Even in the scientific communication a row of new forms of mediation have been introduced: in addition to „classic“ publications like books or magazine articles, blogs and social media are appearing. Evening-lectures are being expanded to Science-Slams, Pecha Kucha-nights or FameLabs. Conferences are increasingly using sharing-concepts and participative formats like fishbowls, roundtables or barcamps. This tendency is often perceived critically by scientists and recipients. Because these new formats are intensifying a basic problem of scientific communication: the urge, to cope with a topic within a limited mass of text or in a limited amount of time – the constraint to a short, concise form. Which formats can scientists, in the sense of serious mediation, be taken responsible for? Isn't scientific content too complex, to be displayed in just 140 (or even 280) characters, in ten minutes or six pictures? Or is science loosing public relevance if it is refusing the demand on brevity and participation?

Second Topic: How the human brain processes information

The Science of Gaining Focus
1) The two brain systems (according to Daniel Kahneman)
The central argument of Kahneman is that there are two types of thinking: System 1 that is fast, intuitive and emotional and System 2 that is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman is describing a series of experiments, that show the differences between the two thought processes and is showing how both systems often end up in different results.
2) How distraction works (according to Daniel Goleman)
There are two varieties of distractions: sensory and emotional. Sensory distractions are popups on the computer screen or the loud construction work outside. Sensory distraction can be avoided by paying attention. William James, a founder of America psychology, wrote a century or so ago that attention comes down to the mind’s eye noticing clearly ‘one of what seems several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought.’ Emotional distractions are much harder to avoid. If something triggers a strong reaction – annoyance or anger, anxiety or even fearfulness – that distraction will instantly become the focus of your thoughts, no matter what you’re trying to focus on.
3) is distraction necessarily a bad thing?
The process of feeling bad about distraction is something that became more present through the optimization of work life in the capitalist world. Whether you call it procrastination or laziness: it is interesting to take a look on why the brain is getting easily distracted and how to purposely encourage distraction.
4) Regaining focus (Autonomy, Resources, Time, Meditation, Nature and Joy)

Third Topic: Applying the brevity discourse to the moving image

How do changing parameters in the moving image affect communication
1) The fast Image in Advertising
2) Density of information in news programs
3) The moving image in social media

III. Conclusion

From ancient times to the modern era the rhetoric has been the binding and constant guideline of communication. Nowadays there is less new in the rhetoric, even though the complexity of content has increased. Also, there seems to be a dominance of the visual in the ‘screen-’ or ‘display culture’.
There is a need for tools, methods and infrastructures to ensure that we can regain focus and fully take part again in a political discourse

Thesis Outline First Draft

I. Introduction

Background:
Many people of the western first world state that they do not want to talk about nowadays news/politics because they know too little about it. [<Steve asks: is this anecdotal or is empirical data informing this statement?] They are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information that they cope with. Does society really have a lower attention span because they are exposed to much more information? [This is a good question. can we assume this? is there empirical evidence? If so what is it? If not, why do we assume it to be so?] And how does this affect the movie?

Thesis Statement:
The acceleration of society is affecting the movie. Properly applied to the moving image, the concept of brevity can help the viewer regain attention for information that matters.[<Steve: is this a modernist solution? (See, in the early 20th century, Otto Neurath on the use of visual information or gestalt theory) in which we consider an 'economic use of information' against an 'overabundance' of information'. You need to be clear about what you know and where you stand on it.]

II. Body

First Topic: The history of the brevity discourse
Different kinds of historical accounts shape our understandings and assumptions about technology.

  1. Cicero vs Quintilian: boring the audience vs keeping something from the audience
  2. Aristotle: brevity in an appropriate manner
  3. Scientific communication

Second Topic: How the human brain processes information
The Science of Gaining Focus

  1. The two brain systems (according to Daniel Kahneman)
  2. How distraction works (according to Daniel Goleman)
  3. Regaining focus (Meditation, Nature and Joy)

Third Topic: Applying the brevity discourse to the moving image
How do changing parameters in the moving image affect communication

  1. The fast image in advertising
  2. Density of information in news programs
  3. The moving image in social media

III. Conclusion

From ancient times to the modern era the rhetoric has been the binding and constant guideline of communication. Nowadays there is less new in the rhetoric, even though the complexity of content has increased. Also, there seems to be a dominance of the visual in the „screen-“ or „display culture“.
There is a need for tools, methods and infrastructures to ensure that we can regain focus and fully take part again in a political discourse