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Examined Life

Neil · 2 · 775

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on: November 12, 2009, 12:54:25 PM

POSSIBLE SPOILS  AS WELL AS A SHITTY ASSEMBLAGE OF WORDS (according to those of true merit and brilliance here at xixax.com)

Because a film on philosophy can be a tricky medium, i'm not certain if all of it would make sense to someone with no frame of reference to the older texts that are discussed in the film. Not to say that it's point would be completely missed, because this film definitely puts interesting ideas in the light. a friend that i watched it with said "the cinematography sucked" and he's a philosophy major. So, we discussed the difficulty of finding images to represent these complex themes. The subject matter in the film is what's important, but obviously getting both areas artfully done would be difficult yet necessary.  I didn't find a problem with any of the shots, or anything like that, i was looking and listening to the speakers, so i have no judgment call on whether or not the film could have been shot better.

The common thread in this film seems to be the idea that Cornel West presents as "the funk."  Examining life in the 21st century comes with a lot of baggage.  To do so, we have to learn how to die.  To me this is using everything before death as a means of analysis.  Learning to die humbly and be content with the life we've led, because it's the end of everyone's journey, no matter what.  It's about that time we are given.

 "The funk" is the reality of all the corpses and bile, and starving people that die every day, landfills that are piling up, all the while people on 5th ave are shopping til they drop.  To examine life means to understand the frivolous spending, and the extent of which things are so far gone.  As Singer puts it in the film, it's to be aware that you could take the 200$ you spend on a pair of boots and give the money to an organization that's helping people.  "The funk" is that truth that's so hard to swallow.  I understand the idea of working hard, and buying what you want.  But, if you become ethically aware, and gain a little knowledge, i think it's quite easy to see how frivolous and meaningless all of that is.  The "funk" also includes not being able to take any of this with you. No matter where we're going. You will die, you will decompose, and you will be the meal of several worms.

This seems so simplistic, and naive, and at the same time.  I understand this, but it's about thinking twice, or thrice, or ten times, and judging yourself, and having the courage to know and understand you are wrong.  Someone has a quote in the film that is to the extent of "it takes just as much courage to look into the dark corners of your soul, as it does for a soldier to fight on the battlefield."  Obviously i butchered the quote a bit, but if this is true it sort of relates back to Plato's 'Allegory of the cave'  where men will kill you when you attempt to free them from their false reality, or lack of knowledge.  Not to mention, the efforts you went through to get this knowledge cause great pain, and even literal and metaphorical blindness for a while.  The light(truth) hurts, and will be very uncomfortable especially in the early stages.

Doing this kind of searching is difficult and Marx knew this when he spoke of alienation that seems so familiar these days.  Marx knew it, and so do many of the philosophers in this film.  To some the idea of being "ethically aware" may have resonated with people in a negative way. But, Sunaura Taylor puts it best. (many) Human's have come up with this self-sufficient, "i can do it myself" attitude.  We need to understand each other in a cosmopolitan sort of way, we all need help.  Sunaura is disabled, and to hear her speak about these issues is very very grounding.  I thought a lot about how i treat "the other.''  I had been introduced to an idea that people with disabilities or diseases should be treated in a way that is to put them on your level.  I've known people with disabilities and crippling diseases and they told me "you know, i just want to be treated like everyone else."  But, this film taught me to look at people as human beings first, and it's sad that this mentality is out there, because we're all in this together.  We are dwellers of this cosmos.  I think that the people who introduced the no sympathy idea, were slaves to the self-sufficiency that's surrounding them.  maybe they assume this is the norm, i don't know,  but she really made me think a lot about fellow species members.

We are surrounded by so much, and to go with the flow of the masses is the easiest thing. Kind of like where Nietzsche argued that Kant's idea of human obligation is based on all the bullshit we humans have made up, so how is this objective?   I was born into this planet with no consent, and i just did what i was told for so long, and it wasn't because of dictating parents or authority figures. i know many people are in my same boat, although many others have chosen the simple route.  Because sometimes examination is uncomfortable...

I already typed way too much. Hopefully i can polish this up though.
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Reply #1 on: November 12, 2009, 01:31:07 PM
Good review.  :yabbse-thumbup:
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