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Re: Woody Allen, September, and distractions

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  • Mary Jo
    Now that s more like it, george . I often neglect to acknowledge your posts; because as we ve discussed elsewhere, your very lucid presentation of your
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 11, 2005
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      Now that's more like it, 'george'. I often neglect to acknowledge
      your posts; because as we've discussed elsewhere, your very lucid
      presentation of your life/idea is about as good as it gets in the
      absence of anything more explanatory. Like I said the other day, I
      live my life as if it might/might not ever improve. I especially
      appreciate your final paragraph and single line statements. I hope
      for progress, but in the meantime why not intentionally seek
      meaningful distraction, namely fully human pursuits. Thanks, Mary

      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, George Walton <iambiguously@y...>
      wrote:
      > From Mark T. Conard's "God, Suicide, and the Meaning of Life" [in
      Woody Allen and Philosophy]:
      >
      >
      > "In September, Lloyd, a physicist, explains to Peter what he does
      for a living. He didn't work on the atomic bomb, he tells Peter, but
      rather on 'Something much more terrifying than blowing up the
      planet'. Peter asks, 'Is there anything more terrifying than the
      destruction of the world?'
      >
      > Lloyd replies:
      >
      > 'Yeah---the knowledge that it doesn't matter one way or the other,
      that it's all random, radiating aimlessly out of nothing, and
      eventually vanishing forever. I'm not talking about the world. I'm
      talking about the universe. All space, all time, just a temporary
      convulsion. And I get paid to prove it.'"
      >
      > And:
      >
      > "After Lloyd explains that he is paid to prove that the universe is
      meaningless, that it doesn't matter one way or the other whether or
      not we destroy the world in an atomic holucaust, the scene
      [remarkably] concludes thus:
      >
      > 'Peter:
      >
      > You feel so sure of that when you look out on a clear night like
      tonight and see all those millions of stars? That none of it matters?
      >
      > 'Lloyd:
      >
      > I think it's just as beautiful as you do, and vaguely evocative of
      some deep truth that always just keeps slipping away, but then my
      professional perspective overcomes me, a less wishful, more
      penetrating view of it, and I understand it for what it truly is:
      haphazard, morally neutral, and unimaginably violent.
      >
      > 'Peter:
      >
      > Look, we shouldn't have this converstion. I have to sleep alone
      tonight.'
      >
      > "The exchange is remarkable not only because of Lloyd's description
      of the universe as 'haphazard, morally neutral and unimaginably
      violent', which is quite striking on its own; it's utterly remarkable
      becuase of Peter's seemingly incongruous response to that claim, that
      they shouldn't be having the conversation because he has to sleep
      alone. This is a wonderfully interesting and telling statement. It
      means, really quite cynically [or realistically, as the case may be]
      that relationships are important distractions, or buffers against the
      harsh nature of reality. In the film, Peter's romantic advances have
      been rejected by Stephanie, and thus that night he has nothing to
      distract him from the ugly truths about the universe which Lloyd is
      laying before him. The scene thus not only presents us with the view
      of a universe....devoid of meaning and value, but it also exposes the
      truth about our individual pursuits and romantic realtionships: that
      they're ultimately mere distractions, ways
      > of deceiving ourselves about the awful truths of the universe and
      our lives."
      >
      > And:
      >
      > "Since value and meaning could only be provided by, or exist as,
      some eternal and permanent feature of the universe, and since our
      individual projects and lives can by no means produce something
      eternal and permanent, these projects can never produce meaning and
      value. Consequently...these pursuits are----at best---mere
      distractions."
      >
      >
      > Is this true? Who knows right? In the context of "all there is"
      your guess is as good as mine. But it is certainly not an irrational
      point of view. On the contrary, it is a perspective that can, in
      fact, be defended as a reasonable conjecture about the human
      condition.
      >
      > And if it is a reasonable vantage point why not approach
      distractions more self-consciously? Why not seek them out...fall into
      them as a kind of antidote to Lloyd's speculations?
      >
      > I know I do.
      >
      > Whatever works I always say.
      >
      > If you know what I mean.
      >
      >
      > george
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ---------------------------------
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      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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