Monday, October 13, 2008

Psalms from the Kitchen

I don't know about the rest of you folks, but if I were a positivist stuck on a Norwegian farm in the winter in a 5 X 8 trailer, I would be severely tempted to take up drinking with the farmer, especially if he was buying. If I was a positivist anywhere in the world, I would take up drinking just to save my sanity. Even thinking about being a positivist makes my head hurt, even without a drink. It is not that I disagree with empiricism as an epistemology, it's just that I disagree with it as the only epistemology. It has also been revealed to me through an extended discussion with a positivist-materialist blend that is it nigh impossible to remove a researcher from his research. Why not just confess the complicity, tell folks what and who you are, and let others attempt to separate the research from the researcher.

I don't know why the original title is Kitchen Psalms. I wonder if the Swedes automatically think of the Hebrew Bible when the word Psalm is mentioned. The book of Pslams in the Hebrew Bible contains hymns, but it also contains royal Psalms, thanksgiving psalms, penitential psalms, and imprecatory psalms. I don't know if there is a connection or the title is incidental. Titles usually mean something.

Probably the most remarkable point in the film is near the end where it is realized that the observer had been observed, and the observed had filled in some of the details himself. Where the understudy feels that this has jepordized the objectivity of the research, the author of the study finds the phenomenon interesting and possibly the best part of data that was collected. Here again, the researcher determines both the validity of the data and its importance.

Melanie's viewpoint from a media perspective as film criticism is just another example of how we can see the same data differently based on perspective.

What I want to know from research is can we live with it. That is, do our conclusions reflect how earth folks really live or do I have to believe in Lilliputians or Martians to make sense of it all.


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