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Re: [existlist] Woody Allen lost in space

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  • drQ
    Yes, how true. ... From: iambiguously To: existlist@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 1:41 AM Subject: [existlist] Woody Allen lost in space From
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 1, 2003
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      Yes, how true.
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: iambiguously
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, December 01, 2003 1:41 AM
      Subject: [existlist] Woody Allen lost in space

      From Richard Schickel's, "Woody Allen: A Life in Film":


      "In 'Shadows and Fog' there's an exchange you and Mia have about
      certainty----you're looking up at the stars and she's saying, 'That
      star could be dead,' and it comes as a shock to the character. The
      light is coming down but the star [might] be dead, Is certainty
      something that you miss and want and can't have?"


      "Sure. You know, you can never resolve the epistemological
      conundrum. I once did a joke a long time ago about having to take
      God's existence on faith, and then I realized that I had to take my
      own existence on faith. And that really is the truth---that you
      can't be certain about anything.

      "I mean, you're in such a precarious position. We're all given this
      spectacular denial system, and also a mind that puts all this chaos
      in order. But the truth of the matter is, if you stop and think
      about it, or lie on your pillow at three o'clock in the morning when
      you can't sleep and think about it....the certainty of everything is
      very dicey. I mean, you know a lot less than you think you know"

      Earlier in introducing the interview, Schickel notes the many
      demographic factors that align him and Allen. But the real
      connection is something much more profound:

      "This says nothing about the things we quite independently learned
      to distrust---organized religion, conventional [or revolutionary
      politics], corporate America, faddish self-improvement [technigues].
      We are, I think, most basically existentialists, haunted by death,
      the silence of the universe, the absence of God, dependent on work
      to distract us from the surrounding nothingness, yet glumly
      convinced that it too is just a way to pass the time between the
      cradle to the grave."

      There are really two very different ways to approach existentialism.
      The first is one most embrace: a philosophy by which to actually
      embrace the uncertainties of life in a positive and constructive and
      life-affirming manner. We are, the party line goes, unshackled from
      the metaphysical claptrap of God and Reason; we can now choose a
      more authentic path as more authentic individuals making more
      authentic choices in a more authentic world. And, up to a point,
      this is certainly true...and a vast improvement over the post
      Kantian logo-centric bullshit that is, for all intents and purposes,
      modern philosophy.

      But I always suspected Allen saw through all this as just another
      layer of rationalization---as, in fact, merely an aspect of human
      psychology more than anything else. Human existence is, push coming
      to shove [before the maw of oblivion], essentially meaningless and
      absurd; and we cannot make an exception to this rule regarding our
      own sense of "self". Out in the real world, it seems, human identity
      for the vast majority of folks is either inherited from those who
      indoctrinated them as children [or enticed them as adults in the
      marketplace] or it is a con game in which "I" become the conjurer of
      choice. Or as Saul Bellows once succinctly put it, "While the
      unexamined life may on be worth living, the examined one can be
      sheer hell".

      So most don't. Not really.

      There is only one antedote and that is a life filled with
      distractions. Without passionaite diversions to misdirect the mind
      into a day to day smorgasbord of "doing", a thinking man or woman
      will be unable to endure the horror that is behind human existence.

      Not to mention the horror that is embedded in the part where it all
      ends. Forever and ever.

      Or as Allen once joked at [I believe] the end of Annie Hall, "a guy
      walks into a restaurant and orders a meal; afterwards, when asked
      his opinion of it he says, 'well the food tasted terrible...and the
      portion was so small!'.

      How true, eh?


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