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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Wonderful Beings

  1. FADE IN.

  2. Act 1


  4. Working before his laptop, PETER watches TV from time to time.

  5. PETER (V.O): It's interesting that in an art and culture TV programme, the theme is about freewill and determinism.

  6. Recalling.

  7. PETER (V.O.): When I was studying Philosophy in the late 1970s, it was only discussed in books and I had no one to talk to.

  8. Pausing.

  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Another philosophical issue that bothered me was the Philosophy of Mind. The dualistic view was that mind and body, or mind and brain are radically different kinds of things.

  10. Pausing.

  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Now, people learn more about the origin of life. They also learn more about the neurological impact on people.

  12. Pausing.

  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I also query more about people's responsibility in society, particularly on criminal enforcement of morals.

  14. Act 2

  15. INT. STUDY - DAY

  16. Peter is watching TV inattentively.

  17. PETER (V.O.): What's the dictionary meaning of freewill?

  18. Peter surfs the web with his phone.

  19. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate, the ability to act in one's discretion.

  20. Pausing.

  21. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): And what's the dictionary meaning of fate?

  22. Researching.

  23. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's the development of events outside one's control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power.

  24. Pausing.

  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): What's this supernatural power then?

  26. Researching.

  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Historically, supernatural powers have been invoked to explain phenomena as diverse as lightening, seasons and the human senses which are today understood scientifically.

  28. Pausing.

  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Science is about descriptive facts. After filtering, they become empirical knowledge.

  30. Researching.

  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The origin of life stems from non-living matters like stardust. The brain is a physical organ. The mind is people's thought process.

  32. Thinking.

  33. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Is our mind or soul physical or non-physical? Can physical and non-physical interact with each other?

  34. Thinking.

  35. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): If the brain is dead, it seems that the mind or soul can't survive it.

  36. Researching.

  37. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): There was a scientific study suggesting that applying an electric current to a particular part of the brain can make people feel a sense of determination.

  38. Reading.

  39. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Such a finding can help treat people who are depressed or low in motivation.

  40. Pausing.

  41. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): If so, using the electric chair to execute people in the old days was very wrong.

  42. Researching.

  43. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): In a 2019 study, neuroscientists say they can, using fMRI, read brain activity to predict decisions 11 seconds before unconscious people act.

  44. Reading.

  45. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): And when people are conscious, neuroscientists can predict what people would do up to 4 seconds beforehand.

  46. Pausing.

  47. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): This seems to suggest that people are under constraint and don't have any freewill at all.

  48. Pausing.

  49. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): If that's the case, should they be held morally or even criminally responsible for their unconscious actions in society eg shoplifting?

  50. Act 3


  52. Reading.

  53. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): But the study also suggests that between a conscious thought and action, people have a few milliseconds to reject their unconscious impulse.

  54. Researching.

  55. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): While the world has a population of 7794 million, there're just over 10 million criminals behind bars.

  56. Pausing.

  57. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): That's means to say around 7784 million people can make the right choice within milliseconds.

  58. Pausing.

  59. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): While people can't change nature, nature let them have a very small window of opportunity to live and let live. And a great majority seizes the opportunities.

  60. Reflecting.

  61. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Raising levels of explanation, science is impacting intellectually on people's speculative art and culture.

  62. Pausing.

  63. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Being able to do the right things in milliseconds, people are really wonderful beings.

  64. Peter smiles

  65. FADE OUT.

  66. THE END

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