Response Paper One Joseph Leemon For my analysis of the movie The Invention of Lying as it pertains to our class, I have selected two parts from the IPC book, where I can apply some of what I have learned so far. The first part is the Ethical Systems of Interpersonal Communication table from Chapter 1 and the Stages of the Interpersonal Perception Process from Chapter 2, The Ethical system of interpersonal communication contains five parts. Those parts are categorical imperative, utilitarianism, golden mean, ethic of care, and significant choice.
Categorical imperative is an ethical system that suggests that we should act as an example to others. This is demonstrated throughout the movie as the entire population (except Mark when he begins to lie), tells the truth no matter how it might affect the other person. A specific example is when Anna is talking to her mother on the date, and explaining that Mark is unattractive and undesirable, even though he is sitting right across from her. Utilitarianism is the ethical system suggesting that what is ethical will bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people.
An example of this would be when Mark tells the lie that he can speak directly to God, and he is confronted with a worldwide audience. He then decides to make up his own version of the Commandments, because he believes that these will help society at large in the best possible way. Golden mean is the ethical system where a person’s moral virtue stands between two vices, with the middle being the foundation for a rational society. This is displayed when Mark uses his lies to get closer to Anna throughout the movie by manipulating other people to get money and fame.
The other side of it is when he tells his dying grandmother how wonderful heaven is, so she will be able to die peacefully. Mark also has various other situations like this that keeps him centered and good. The ethic of care is the system that is concerned with the connections among people and the moral consequences of decisions. Throughout the movie, Mark tries to get Anna to like him, even though she originally thought of him as ugly and as a loser. They begin to grow closer, until Anna decides to marry Brad, because Brad is of better “stock” than Mark.
Anna does not end up going through with marrying Brad, because she realizes that there are more appealing aspects to Mark, even though he has told her that he has not told the truth. Significant choice is the belief that communication is ethical to the extent that it maximize our ability to exercise free choice. This is brought up in the movie a couple of times. One of the first times Mark uses it is when he runs into Frank, who is contemplating suicide. Mark did not have to tell Frank that he was a good guy, and that he was worth something, but he found it was the ethical thing to do, and exercised his choice in that way.
Another time is near the end of the movie where Mark tells Anna that he has not been telling the truth. He wanted her to like him for himself, and not all the money and fame that he had accumulated by lying, so he made the choice to tell her the truth. The second part is the Stages of the Interpersonal Perception Process from Chapter 2. These include attending and selecting, organizing, interpreting, and retrieving. This is used on Mark and Anna’s second date, when Anna asks Mark about his family.
Mark is able to draw her in by telling her of his father and his grandmother. Mark then uses organizing to create the belief that he is good enough for Anna, but Anna still believes that he is ugly and she does not want to have children with him. Because of this, Mark interprets that even though he has more money, Anna will still not be with him romantically. Mark retains this idea that he is not good enough throughout the rest of the movie, until the very end where Anna finally decides that she wants to be with him because of the person he is on the inside.
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