Sunday, December 4

Film For Thought

So around 12:50am last night--ten minutes before the Blockbuster across the street was supposed to close--I decided to return some old movies and rent a few new ones. One of the ones I watched was Waking Life.

Dude, it was incredible. Strange, but totally incredible.

It was as if someone took all the things we all feel but don't speak of about the surreal feeling of standing at the threshold between consciousness and unconsciousness and captured it on film. And that's just the beginning.

The philosophical arguments it poses are just as surreal and familiar as thought-provoking and overwhelming. It's one of those movies you want to watch more than once just to see how far it can push you to your own intellectual limits.

Here are some quotations from the film that I found most interesting:

"A thousand years is but an instant.
There's nothing new, nothing different. The same pattern over and over.
The same clouds, the same music,
the same insight felt an hour or an eternity ago.
There's nothing here for me now, nothing at all.
Now I remember. This happened to me before. This is why I left.
You have begun to find your answers.
Although it will seem difficult, the rewards will be great.
Exercise your human mind as thoroughly as possible,
knowing it is only an exercise.
Build beautiful artifacts, solve problems,
explore the secrets of the physical universe.
Savor the input from all the senses.
Feel the joy and sorrow, the laughter, the empathy, compassion...
and tote the emotional memory in your travel bag."

"This entire thing we're involved with called the world...
is an opportunity to exhibit how exciting alienation can be.
Life is a matter of a miracle that is collected over time...
by moments flabbergasted to be in each other's presence.
The world is an exam to see if we can rise into the direct experiences.
Our eyesight is here as a test to see if we can see beyond it.
Matter is here as a test for our curiosity.
Doubt is here as an exam for our vitality.
Thomas Mann wrote that he would rather participate in life...
than write a hundred stories.
Giacometti was once run down by a car,
and he recalled falling into a lucid faint,
a sudden exhilaration,
as he realized at last something was happening to him.
An assumption develops that you cannot understand life and live life simultaneously.
I do not agree entirely. Which is to say I do not exactly disagree.
I would say that life understood is life lived.
But the paradoxes bug me,
and I can learn to love and make love...
to the paradoxes that bug me.
And on really romantic evenings of self,
I go salsa dancing with my confusion.
Before you drift off, don't forget.
Which is to say, remember.
Because remembering is so much more a psychotic activity than forgetting."

"And as one realizes...
that one is a dream figure...
in another person's dream,
that is self-awareness.
You haven't met yourself yet.
But the advantage to meeting others in the meantime...
is that one of them may present you to yourself.
Examine the nature...
of everything you observe."

"Down through the centuries, the notion that life is wrapped in a dream...
has been a pervasive theme of philosophers and poets.
So doesn't it make sense that death, too, would be wrapped in dream?
That, after death, your conscious life would continue...
in what might be called, "a dream body"?
It would be the same dream body you experience in your everyday dream life.
Except that in the post-mortal state,
you could never again wake up,
never again return to your physical body.
As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle,
being swept along is no longer enough."

2 comments:

EA said...

Yes that is a great movie, it was filmed and edited in Austin where I live, and is still talked about, one of the most thought provoking movies I have seen. I dont mean to be demanding, but I yearn for your poetry, I know, I know, I am asking much, but will you think about it, pleeeeaaaasssseee.:)

Samira said...

I stopped writing poetry about five years back.

Poetry reflects the state of the soul, and my poetry focused on death. I left it in search for life--and I have found it. In the process, as I continue to feel life, I know my literary abilities (more appropriately, the lack thereof) will not allow me to write about the beauty, the strangeness, the awe-inspiring moments that characterize my soul today--at least not in a constricted (though rich) artform such as poetry.

I am content with this idea of hope, and though I still certainly enjoy artforms, I feel no agonizing compulsion to write as I once did. But thank you for asking--unfortunately, my old pieces would disappoint you anyway :)