Thread for mundane ironists

Philosophy

“Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.” René Descartes

Well, in a free will world, anyway.

“The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself.” Thich Nhat Hanh

What particular truth? Or, sure, let’s not go there.

“All great things must first wear terrifying and monstrous masks in order to inscribe themselves on the hearts of humanity.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Of course, he’s only paraphrasing Jim Morrison.

“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.” W. Somerset Maugham

I certainly do.

“I am sitting with a philosopher in the garden; he says again and again ‘I know that that’s a tree’, pointing to a tree that is near us. Someone else arrives and hears this, and I tell him: 'This fellow isn’t insane. We are only doing philosophy.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

Look, it’s either a tree or it isn’t.

“No passion is stronger in the breast of a man than the desire to make others believe as he believes. Nothing so cuts at the root of his happiness and fills him with rage as the sense that another rates low what he prizes high.” Virginia Woolf

Let’s just hope that never happens here.

Based on a true story.

Yet another glimpse inside the world of religious faith. This time Jehovah’s Witnesses. But are they all the same when push comes to shove? It’s a world in which what you believe pales next to the fact that you believe in whatever that might happen to be. It’s a world of ritual and necessity. But, again, what you do is basically interchangeable in all faiths. Why? Because what matters most is that you recognize the necessity to do particular things over and over and over again. Believing that if you do you are granted eternal life.

And the only way you can deprogram minds like these is to somehow get them to understand this. But usually [emotionally and psychologically] there is simply too much at stake. Especially with minds that have been brainwashed [indoctrinated] for years and years as children.

And these folks are the worst because they believe that unless you accept their faith and their faith alone your soul is lost.

Beware “the elders”.

This shunning bullshit is no joke. It rips families, friends, lovers to shreds. These people genuinely love each other. But they love – or fear – God more.

Poor Thea.

Worlds Apart [To Verdener]

Father: I’ve done something terribly wrong.
Sara: What have you done?
Father: Now it’s all falling apart.
Sara: But what have you done?
Father: I was too weak. I was tempted.

He fucked a woman who was not his children’s mother.

Elizabeth: Dad did something very wrong.
Sara: Yes. But it’s worse that Mom won’t forgive him even though he repents.

After all, God does.

Thea: There are three kinds of young Witnesses, you know. The 1s break all the rules. The 2s try out stuff without talking about it much.
Sara: That’s you.
Thea: And the 3s are the nerds. They attend all the meetings and sit at home with their parents and never do anything wrong.
Sara: That’s me.
Thea: Soon to become a 2.

Actually, soon to become one of the apostates.

Teis: When is the last time you saw your brother?
Sara: A year ago.
Teis: The rest of your family don’t see him either?
Sara: No.
Teis: Why not? Why not?
Sara: It’s none of your business, is it?
Teis: No, I guess not.
Sara: He didn’t behave correctly. He read the wrong book.
Teis: Okay. And you really didn’t like that book? I’d sure like to read it.
Sara: He’s expelled. That’s why.
Teis: Expelled from what?
Sara: We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Teis: You’re kidding me…

No fucking way.

Teis: Aren’t you the ones who believe in all that Doomsday crap?
Sara: It’s called Armageddon and it’s not Doomsday but a transition to a new world.
Teis: Where everyone but you dies, right?
Sara: Yes.
Teis: So I’m going to die? [points to a woman] Is she going to die?
Sara: Unless she accepts Jehovah as the one true God, yes, she is.
Teis [pointing to another woman]: What about her?
Sara: Stop it.
Teis [pointing to a baby in a stroller]: Is that child going to die? Say the parents don’t accept your truth and the child is too young to understand, it’s still doomed?

Tell him the part about God’s mysterious ways.

Teis: So sex is a no-no. What else?
Sara: You don’t want to hear.
Teis: I’m serious.
Sara: You can’t join the army, you can’t vote, you can’t smoke or celebrate Christmas and birthdays. You can’t contradict the elders. But sex is the worst thing.

Of course: Cue Wilhelm Reich.

What about the no-god elders who want to extend mind life by augmenting the body/brain or downloading mind maps into fresh/mechanical vessels as the old ones decay/deteriorate?

An “in” with no “out” you can control, whether by shunning or your own personal will. Only the elders.

In that sense, I can see why Tolkien (& Paul) frames death as a gift, though the above^ is not his intended reason. Hm. Not that he rules it out as one.

But the elders are not above self=other. The boomerang hits them first & hardest.

Logic

“We ought to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its antecedent state and as the cause of the state that is to follow. An intelligence knowing all the forces acting in nature at a given instant, as well as the momentary positions of all things in the universe, would be able to comprehend in one single formula the motions of the largest bodies as well as the lightest atoms in the world, provided that its intellect were sufficiently powerful to subject all data to analysis; to it nothing would be uncertain, the future as well as the past would be present to its eyes. The perfection that the human mind has been able to give to astronomy affords but a feeble outline of such an intelligence.” Pierre Simon de Laplace

Sure, why not?

“A person’s looking for a simple truth to live by, there it is. CHOICE. To refuse to passively accept what we’ve been handed by nature or society, but to choose for ourselves. CHOICE. That’s the difference between emptiness and substance, between a life actually lived and a wimpy shadow cast on an office wall.” Tom Robbins

Sure, why not?

“Each man lives for himself, uses his freedom to achieve his personal goals, and feels with his whole being that right now he can or cannot do such-and-such an action; but as soon as he does it, this action, committed at a certain moment in time, becomes irreversible, and makes itself the property of history, in which is has not a free but a predestined significance. ” Leo Tolstoy

Well, this straightens that out.

“…free will does not mean one will, but many wills conflicting in one man. Freedom cannot be conceived simply.” Flannery O’Connor

Uh, histoircally, culturally and experientially?

“If I hadn’t spent so much time studying Earthlings," said the Tralfamadorian, "I wouldn’t have any idea what was meant by ‘free will.’ I’ve visited thirty-one inhabited planets in the universe, and I have studied reports on one hundred more. Only on Earth is there any talk of free will.” Kurt Vonnegut

I knew it!

“Remember your connection with the cosmos. Remember your connection with the infinity and that remembrance will give you the freedom.” Amit Ray

Again…huh?
Let’s bring that down out of the “spiritual” clouds.

Worlds Apart [To Verdener]

Teis: It’s so weird. You actually believe in God?
Sara: It’s weirder not to believe.

Too close to call?

Teis: So if the doctor can only save you by giving you blood, you still say no? Even if you know you may die?
Sara: Yes, if your faith is strong. Jehovah says you should not take the blood of others.

You know, if you are a True Christian, right IC?

The elder [after telling Sara she must break up with Teis]: I know you want to be God’s friend. You know what you must do in return. Right?
Sara [in tears]: Can’t you help me. Please?
The elder: You must trust in Jehovah. Only by trusting in Jehovah can you avoid Satan’s trials.
Sara: Isn’t there some way I can still see him. As a friend?

Nope.

Teis: Don’t let them walk all over you and make you break up with me so you can hand out phamphlets and tell people they’re better off dead!

Let’s just say that, by now, he’s got her thinking.

Jette [Teis’s mother]: Teis told us about your faith.
Teis: Jette and Vagn don’t believe in anything.
Jette: I have to say, we’re worried about how your being in a sect will affect Teis.
Vagn: We’ve been over that Jette.
Sara: Why do you call it a sect?
Jette: Well, that is what I’d call a closed group of uneducated people who believe in the end of the world and that they’re the only ones who’ll survive it.
Sara: We don’t think you need to be educated to be happy. We just try to bring people closer to God. That’s the only road to truth.
Jette [sarcastically]: The truth. Do you think there is only one truth, Sara? Jehovah’s Witnesses have proclaimed the end is near countless times with dates they get out of the blue. That’s what I call brainwashing. Do you know what that is? It’s when you tell children the same lie over and over again. You think so too, Vagn.

This get’s her thinking even more. Here’s the problem though: By this time you like Sara a lot and tend to see Lette as the arrogant intellectual snob.

Teis: I don’t agree with the way my mother put it, but she’s right. Somewhere deep inside, you know she is.
Sara: I thought you were approaching us. I thought you wanted to help me.
Teis: I know how much is at stake for you but I just can’t. I can’t believe in it.
Sara: But we slept with each other.
Teis: I slept with you because I wanted to and because you wanted to. Stay here. Don’t go.

But she does. If not for long.

Worlds Apart [To Verdener]

Mother: You’re walking on a razor’s edge.
Sara: I know.

No, really, drawn and quartered in a way I suspect that I understand but I suspect few others here do.

The Elder: Sara, you know that fornicators offend the purity of Jehovah. If you choose carnal lust, you choose the lonliness of the soul. If you choose desire instead of Jehovah, you choose eternal death.

It’s in The Book.

Father: Sara, I can’t see you anymore.
Sara: What do you mean? Sure you can. Why can’t you?
Father: You live here with your boyfriend.
Sara: My address is with Mom.
Father: But you live here.
Sara: Didn’t you hear me? My address is at Mom’s.
Father: God sees all.
Sara: In that case, He sees you choosing to believe me becasue you love me.
Father: Jehovah is truth, not a personal emotion.
Sara: So you want to stop seeing me?
Father: No, that’s what you want, Sara. This is your choice and yours alone. Jehovah sees you make that choice.
Sara: Don’t hide behind Jehovah. This is your choice.

Next up: hiding behind Him here.

Sara: So, this is goodbye?
Father: Yes, I suppose so.
Sara: Goodbye then.
Father: Goodbye, Sara.

The fools! Unless, of course, Dad’s right.

Jonas [her shunned brother]: I can’t go on. I can’t stand being outside the church. It’s just too hard. I want to repent. If you do too, we can all be together again.
Sara: I’m sorry, Jonas. But I can’t.

Left behind it is then.

Sara: Do you love me?
Father: How can you even ask? Of course I do.
Sara: Do you love God more than me?
Father: Yes.
Sara: Why?
Father: He created me. He is my Heavenly Father and will give me eternal life.
Sara: Know what, Dad? I think that’s very selfish of you.
Father. You could come back. Repent and come back so we can be a real family again.
Sara: Goodbye Dad.

And so…

Title card: Sara doesn’t see her father and younger siblings anymore. She lives in Copenhagen where she’s studying to become a teacher.

All in the name of a loving, just and merciful God.

Sara [voiceover]: Jehovah God. This is the last time we talk because I don’t believe in you anymore.

And now?

.

Whenever @iambiguous becomes more active again, I think to myself “flu-jab season is now behind him, I see”.

IMG_3173

What did she know and when did she know it? And what happens when we can’t ask the dead fetus to confirm it?

Forget the morality. Here we have to determine if what she did is legal. And what if what she believes happened is contradicted by what can be established as in fact having happened? Or what if she can’t remember what really happened at all? Or what if she is lying about what she thinks happened? Is she a murderer?

These things get complicated. Way past words.

Stephanie Daley

Prosecutor: Claims she didn’t know she was pregnant. Claims that the infant was stillborn. Used her teeth to cut the cord.
Lydia [forensic psychologist]: Air in the lungs?
Prosecutor: And bowels. Also toilet paper embedded in the face.

You tell me.

Lydia: Did they talk to you about abortion?
Stephanie: No. But I could never do that.
Lydia: Why not?
Stephanie: Because it would be killing a baby.

How ironic is that?

Teacher [quoting Hawthorne]: No man for any considerable period can wear one face to himself and another to the multitudes before finally becoming bewildered as to which may be true.

I don’t know about that. I’ve been doing it for years and years now myself.

Teacher: Alright, we’re talking about The Scarlet Letter here. Anyone want to tell me the point of this book? Stephanie?
Stephanie: I think the point of the book is that it is harder to live a lie than it is to tell the truth and be punished.
Teacher: That’s good Steph. Anyone think the story has any relevance today? Satin?
Satin: I think it’s bullshit. He writes about this hypocritical priest who trashes this woman’s life and we’re supposed to feel sorry for him because he’s ruined his relationship with God.
Teacher: And you don’t think a relationship with God is important?
[the teacher gets down in her face]
Teacher: You know what great literature is about, Satin? It’s about man and God. Nothing else really matters.

Sure, that might be true. After all, No God and, well, you know.

Stephanie: I already knew she was going to be dead.
Lydia: How did you know that?
Stephanie: I just knew.
Lydia: Did you check for a pulse?
Stephanie: I wrapped her up in toilet paper…
Lydia: …and threw her away.
Stephanie [in a whisper]: Yes.
Lydia: But first you had to cut the umbilical cord. Did you hold her while you chewed the cord?
Stephanie: I don’t remember.
Lydia: What did you do with your hands?
Stephanie: I don’t know.
Lydia: Tell me what you believed happened.
Stephanie: What if what I believe turns out not to be true?
Lydie: Then stop believing it.

Right, like flicking a light switch on and off.

Stephanie: I’m, uh, going to take a plea bargain.
Lydia: I think that’s a good idea.
Stephanie: Criminally negligent homicide. My lawyer says I’ll get five years. But if I go to jail for 6 months I might be able to get parole.
Lydia: You’ll get parole.

No parole for the baby though.

Lydia [seeing the bandage on Stephanie’s hand]: What happened?
Stephanie [misunderstands and thinks she is talking about the baby]: I held her.
Lydia [confused]: What?
Stephanie: I held her. She barely moved. She was so small. She wasn’t crying. Her breathing was bad. But I knew she wanted to live. But I did not want her to. So I told her to die. And she did. I killed her with my mind.

Human all too human?

Epistemology

“Of course, 1+1 makes 2 and blue to yellow gives green. But if we forget for a while the abstract knowledge or the laws of nature, and focus on the “knowledge” of particular situations, events, persons etc., then we can observe that it is almost never: “I know”; it is practically always: “I believe”.
Humans and all the intelligent creatures of this world operate through beliefs, more or less justified, more or less true, more or less convincing. Because the biological apparatus of one hundred percent accuracy has not yet been “invented” in nature. And it never will.” Giannis Delimitsos

Yo, Mr. Objectivist, you’re up!

“Theories thus become instruments, not answers to enigmas, in which we can rest. We don’t lie back upon them, we move forward, and, on occasion, make nature again over by their aid. Pragmatism unstiffens all our theories, limbers them up and sets each one at work.” William James

“Down here”, for example.

“Thus nature gets credit which should in truth be reserved for ourselves: the rose for its scent: the nightingale for his song: the sun for its radiance. The poets are entirely mistaken. They should address their lyrics to themselves, and should turn them into odes of self-congratulation on the excellency of the human mind. Nature is a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colourless…” Alfred North Whitehead

[i]Yo, Maia! Where are you when we need you?]/i]

“If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: For it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.” David Hume

See, I told you.

“If physics and cosmology are truly sciences, then there exists a body of excellent evidence that the scale and the varieties of Being vastly exceed anything an earlier generation could have imagined. This persuades me that reasoning about ultimate things cannot be based on the anomalous fragment of reality accessible to our awareness.” Marilynne Robinson

See, I told you.

“Huxley grasped, as Orwell did not, that it is not necessary to conceal anything from a public insensible to contradiction and narcotized by technological diversions. Although Huxley did not specify that television would be our main line to the drug, he would have no difficulty accepting Robert MacNeil’s observation that ‘Television is the soma of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.’ Big Brother turns out to be Howdy Doody.” Neil Postman

He means Captain Kangaroo of course.

Three historical contexts. The rich and the poor, the rich and an emerging middle class and the rich and a burgeoning middle class. That can make all the difference in the world regarding the narratives we use. Even “over there”. But some will ever resist anything other than Us and Them.

Seeing how the rich live never motivates me to want a lot of money myself. I just need enough to do the things I enjoy. But any civilized society should strive to provide all citizens with access to the middle class. And fuck that maid shit. In fact, the whole idea of having “servants” is repugnant to me. Though no less rooted existentially in dasein.

I do however prefer that folks [rich or not] be intelligent and “cultured”. That’s just a prejudice but I suspect a pervasive one here.

In the end the servant gets her revenge. If you call self-immolation revenge.

The Housemaid [Hanyo]

Mrs. Cho: Madam’s underwear is in the bathroom, you should hand wash it. When you get that big, you pee just by sneezing.

R.U.N.S!!!

Mrs Cho: R.U.N.S.! Revolting Ugly Nauseating and Shameless work!

Use that yourself if you want.

Hae-ra: I don’t understand why your brother’s wife stopped after two kids. That’s for common people who have to struggle to raise them.

Money squawks?

Eun-yi: I love how you’re such a nice girl. You’re not bad-tempered, you’re polite to me.
Nami: I learned that from father. He said to treat people politely. It may seem like a sign of respect, but it’s really putting myself first.

Nami is, to say the least, precocious.

Mi-hee [Hae-ra’s mother]: She doesn’t even realize she’s pregnant yet?
Mrs. Cho: Well, she’s kind of on the slow side.
Mi-hee: Slow? Really? What do you think she’ll do when she finds out?
Mrs. Cho: Slow, or naive, she’s not completely stupid, but she won’t pull any tricks. She’s pure-hearted.
Mi-hee: Hmm. Like Dostoyevsky’s Idiot.

If you get her drift.

Woman [mother?] : Your boss came in naked and you didn’t even resist?
Eun-yi: I was naked too and waiting for him.
Woman: Are you out of your mind? So, is it different with a rich man?
Eun-yi: [handing her the check from Hoon]: He finished with that.
Woman: Wow. I guess it is different.

If you get her drift.

Mi-hee: Your husband’s fucking her, and she’s pregnant. That’s a fact. The possibility that the baby’s not your husband’s? Zero.

Or perhaps even less than zero?

Mrs. Cho [handing Eun-yi yet another check]: Your consolation payment. You know this is how that family solves any problems, right? Convenient for them and not bad for us either.

Money talks?

Mi-hee: There are obstetrics tests listed on the hospital bill. Now she knows she is pregnant. Let’s see what that bimbo tries to pull.
Hae-ra: What did he see in that cheap, common slut?

Probably the same thing that most men would.

Hae-ra: How could that bastard do this to me? In my house, with the bitch who washes my underwear?!

Of course, she’s stuck too.

Mi-hee [to Eun-yi]: That’s a $100,000 check. That thing inside you, it’s nothing. You can just cut it off, like a cyst.

And then burn in Hell, right?

Mrs. Cho: These people are scary.

They can afford to be.

Eun-yi: I’m pregnant. But the ladies of the house found out everything. They really smacked me around. They said they’d give me $100,000 if I have an abortion. But I’m having this baby.

No, she’s not. You just don’t fuck with scary people. Especially not the rich ones. Unless, of course, you’re crazy.

Eun-yi: R.U.N.S…R.U.N.S.

Up in flames as it were.

Muriel Barbery from The Elegance of the Hedgehog

In our world, that’s the way you live your grown-up life: you must constantly rebuild your identity as an adult, the way it’s been put together it is wobbly, ephemeral, and fragile, it cloaks despair and, when you’re alone in front of the mirror, it tells you the lies you need to believe.

Or others will.

As far as I can see, only psychoanalysis can compete with Christians in their love of drawn-out suffering.” Muriel Barbery

Next up: Scientology.

So if there is something on the planet that is worth living for, I’d better not miss it, because once you’re dead, it’s too late for regrets, and if you die by mistake, that is really, really dumb.

Any really, really dumb people here?

What is an aristocrat? A woman who is never sullied by vulgarity, although she may be surrounded by it.

And who isn’t?

…if you dread tomorrow, it’s because you don’t know how to build the present, you tell yourself you can deal with it tomorrow, and it’s a lost cause anyway because tomorrow always ends up becoming today, don’t you see?

Ask me again tomorrow.

We don’t recognize each other because other people have become our permanent mirrors. If we actually realized this, if we were able to become aware of the fact that we are only ever looking at ourselves in the other person, that we are alone in the wilderness, we would go crazy.

How close are you right now?

Is she a cruel sadistic pig and crazy? Does that make it different?

This is a movie “inspired by actual events”. That can mean practically anything. But in this world it isn’t hard to imagine it all unfolding—even more horrifically than this. Just tune in to the ID channel from time to time.

Especially if you think this sort of stuff doesn’t go on today.

This is a really hard movie to watch. You feel helpless because you know you can’t do a goddamn thing to stop what is still going on.

And the boys? Is it all about sex to them? Or more Mother Knows Best? And then there’s David.

Oh, and don’t forget: God sees all. And the irony still being that you need Him here because, well, what else is there?

Here is what the film is based on: Murder of Sylvia Likens - Wikipedia

The Girl Next Door

Adult David: You think you know about pain? Talk to my second wife. When she was nineteen she got between a couple of fighting cats, and one of them went at her, climbed her like a tree, tore gashes out of her thighs and breasts and belly that you can still see today. She got thirty stitches and a fever that lasted for days. My second wife says that’s pain. She doesn’t know shit, that woman.

If you get his drift.

Ruth: I’m just warning you, Honey, if I see any slutting going on around here, your ass is grass.

More like weeds, actually.

Ruth: You too Davey, go. Sorry, but I got some difficult thinking to do.

Of course, we know what that means.

Ruth: Good morning David. Grab yourself a beer if you want.

Along with all the other kids.

Ruth: Damn it, Donnie, now we’ve got to cauterize.

Use your imagination.

Ruth: One sound down here and I promise I’ll kill the both of you. Not just punish you, kill you. Dead. You got that, David? Are we straight about that?

I didn’t doubt her for a second.

Susan Loughlin: [after Willie is done raping Meg] I want my mommy!
Ruth Chandler: Shut the fuck up.

Trust me: Or else.

Ruth: You boys better string her up again. We’ve got her so no man will ever want her.

Of course, some men will fuck a decomposing corpse.

Adult David: The past catches up to you, whether you like it or not. It can be a gift or a curse if you let it. I will never forget the gift of Meg Loughlin, though I am plagued with the torment of failing again, failing somebody. But as she taught me, it’s what you do last that counts.

It’s really hard to make up your mind about David here. About what he did or didn’t do at first, for example. And then the second and third and fourth times he could have done something but didn’t.

A very strange relationship. Probably not meant to be taken…literally? It makes sense only when acknowledging these are, after all, human beings. And what is strange to some may be anything but to others.

Still, this is strange: Agreeing to marry before they know each other’s name.

But don’t bother asking, “What’s the point?” They have their own.

Of course it doesn’t hurt if you become the husband of a voluptuous and beautiful hairdresser.

So, why did she jump? She had her reasons. But certainly not ones that will ever make any sense to me.

The Hairdresser’s Husband [Le Mari de la Coiffeuse]

Antoine [voiceover]: My mother had knitted wool bathing trunks for my brother and me. The trunks never dried. We were always in the sea so the wool stayed wet all day and the sand stuck to our asses. I was always sore between the legs. After a week, I was walking with my legs spread to avoid screaming in pain. I’m angry at my mother for making us wear those wooly trunks. But I’m glad she unintentionally drew attention to my genitals. That summer, I realized I had to take good care of my balls.

The first hairdresser and the law of unintended consequences, let’s say.

Antoine: I’m off to the barber’s.
Mother: Again?!

And again and again and again.

Antoine: That evening, having seen her heavy but ideally rounded breasts, I was still so disturbed I couldn’t speak.

Then, of course: back again. Until one day…

Father: And you? What do you want to be in life?
Antoine: I want to marry a hairdresser.
[His father slaps him in the face]
Father: Why did I do that? Tell me, why did I do that?

Like Antoine could ever possibly explain it.

Antoine: Naturally, I wondered if Mathilde wore a bra.

Naturally, she didn’t.

Mathilde: Promise me one thing. The day you don’t love me anymore, you won’t pretend to.

A snowball’s chance in Hell of that happening.

Antoine [voiceover]: We have no friends. We never had any. What could they add to our lives? I don’t understand couples who go out with other couples, even on holiday. It proves that love is lacking and the gulf is being bridged by outside friendships. Mathilde and I are happy together. That’s all that matters.

Apparently, even this can go too far.

Antoine: While cutting my hair, Mathilde said: “Do you know Fernand Reynaud drives a Jag?” She must have read it in a magazine. And I, like a fool, answered sarcastically: “You mean he can drive, that idiot?” I never liked that actor, but Mathilde did. She shrugged her shoulders and sighed in a way I’d never heard before. Annoyed and silent, she finished the cut. That was our only fight. But it disturbed me deeply.

How deeply did it disturb her? Stay tuned.

Mathilde: It’s terrible. He stoops more and more every day.
Antoine: Everyday he gets older.
Mathilde: Life’s disgusting.

In particular [of course] the parts “beyond our control”.

Mathilde [leaving the shop after coitus with Antoine]: I’ll get some yogurt for tonight.

Not really.

Mathilde [in letter]: My love. I’m going before you do. I’m going before your desire dies. Then we’d be left with tenderness alone. And I know that wouldn’t be enough. I’m going before I grow unhappy. I go bearing the taste of our embraces. Bearing your smell, your glances, your kisses. I go with the memory of the best years of my life. The ones you gave me. I kiss you slowly until I die. I have always loved you. I loved only you. I’m going so you’ll never forget me. Mathilde.

True love?

Some, more than others… :rofl::rofl::rofl:

Yea me :raised_hand:t3:

…coz I like to play ‘pretend’ sometimes.

There are two sides to every story. The right side and the wrong side. The good side and the bad side. The true side and the false side.

And then there’s the real world.

But most will see this guy as a scumbag and what he did as despicable. And Robbins shows us just how despicable. Personally, I think the state did the right thing. My real qualms with execution revolve around what can happen to the innocent in a criminal justice system that can be at times nothing less than criminal itself. But that really wasn’t applicable here.

Though both Robbins and Sarandon are known political activists on the left [and opposed to the death penalty] you can’t say they didn’t bend over backwards here to show both sides of the issue. Towards the end, just when you think the whole focus is going to shift to Poncelet’s narrative [his suffering, his redemption], the actual execution itself is interspersed with a depiction of what these two men did to the victims the night of the crime—the rape and the murders.

Basically, they show us that both sides are right. We simply view the events from a conflicting set of value judgments embedded in a conflicting understanding of what is good.

Of course God and Jesus are practically Marxist revolutionaries here.

Dead Man Walking

Sister Helen: What about you?
Matthew: l live here.
Sister Helen: You were brought up poor?
Matthew: Ain’t nobody with money on death row.
Sister Helen: You and l have something in common then.
Matthew: What’s that?
Sister Helen: We both live with the poor.

Next up: the parts they don’t have in common.

Matthew: l don’t trust nobody in here. But you don’t kiss my ass or preach that hellfire brimstone crap. I respect that. You got guts. You live in a neighborhood with every n***** carrying a gun.

Clearly, a man whose life is worth saving.

Matthew: We have to prove l’m innocent.
Hilton: We’ll file appeals with the federal and supreme courts for that but this is a pardon board. They won’t care if you shot the gun. They’ll be thinking of the crime. And of you as a monster. lt’s easy to kill a monster but hard to kill a human being.

Though for some it’s actually the other way around. Matthew maybe?

Matthew: l like being alone with you. You’re looking real good to me.
Sister Helen: Look at you. Death is breathing down your neck, and you’re playing your little male come-on games. l’m not here for your amusement, Matthew. Show some respect.
Matthew: Why, cause you’re a nun?
Sister Helen: Because I’m a person. Every person deserves respect.

No, really, how ridiculous is that?

Hilton: Ladies and gentlemen, let’s be honest. You’re not gonna find many rich people on death row. Matthew Poncelet’s here today because he’s poor. Didn’t have money so he had to take what the State gave him. He got a tax lawyer who’d never tried a capital case before. An amateur. The lawyer raised one objection the entire trial.

That’s one more than some get.

Hilton: The death penalty. lt’s nothing new, been with us for centuries. We’ve buried people alive, lopped off their heads, burned them alive in public, gruesome spectacles. In this century, we kept searching for more and more humane ways of killing people we didn’t like. We’ve shot them with firing squads, suffocated them in gas chambers. But now…now we have developed a device that is the most humane of all: Lethal injection. We strap the guy up. We anesthetize him with shot number one. Then we give him shot number two which implodes his lungs. And shot number three stops his heart. We put him to death just like an old horse. His face just goes to sleep while inside, his organs are going through Armageddon. His facial muscles would contort, but shot number one relaxes those muscles. So we don’t have to see any horror show. We don’t have to taste the blood of revenge while this human being’s organs writhe, twist, contort. We just sit there quietly, nod our heads and say: ‘‘Justice has been done.’’

Of course there are those who want to see all these things. Folks who think that is just what he deserves.

Slavoj Žižek

The problem of materialism is not ‘does reality exist outside?’ The problem is ‘does our mind exist?’ How does my mind exist and how is it inherent to reality?

Then the part where it seems that some minds clearly exist more than others. But are they compelled to?

It is only when we despair and don’t know anymore what to do that change can be enacted - we have to go through this zero point of hopelessness.

How’s that not working out for you?

It is the reign of contemporary global capitalism which is the true Lord of Misrule.

On the other hand, what if it’s still the best of all possible worlds?

Our thesis eleven today should be: “Critical leftists have hitherto only dirtied with dust the balls of those in power – the point is to cut them off.”

Shouldn’t that be way up in the top 10?

It is easy for an academic to claim at a round table that we live in a post-ideological universe - the moment he visits the restroom after the heated discussion, he is again deep-knee in ideology.

No, really, you tell me.

Authentic emancipatory events always involve ignoring particular identities as irrelevant.

His “woke” in other words.

Dead Man Walking

State’s attorney: There’s been no doubt in the court’s mind about who did the murder. Matthew Poncelet is not a good boy. He is a heartless killer. These murders were calculated, disgusting and cruel. This man shot Walter Delacroix two times in the back of his head. And raped Hope Percy and stabbed her 17 times before shooting this sweet girl two times in the back of the head. These families will never see their children graduate from college. They will never attend their wedding. They will never have Christmas with them again. There will be no grandchildren. All they ask of you is simple justice for their unbearable loss. l ask you to take a breath, steel your spine and proceed with the execution of Matthew Poncelet.

That works for me. Well, “here and now”.

Earl Delacroix: Excuse me, Sister, l’m Walter Delacroix’s father.
Sister Helen: Mr. Delacroix, l’m sorry about–
Earl Delacroix: Sister, l’m a Catholic. How can you sit by Poncelet’s side without ever having come to visit with me and my wife or the Percys to hear our side? How can you spend all your time worrying about Poncelet and not think that maybe we needed you too?
Sister Helen: Mr. Delacroix, l didn’t think that you wanted to talk to me.
Earl Delacroix: This is Mary Beth and Clyde Percy.
Sister Helen: l’m sorry about your daughter.
Clyde Percy: Yeah, so are we. Excuse us.
Earl Delacroix: Listen, Sister, l’m sure you’ve seen a side of Matt Poncelet that none of us has seen. l’m sure he’s on his best behavior, must be pretty sympathetic to you. But, Sister, this is an evil man. This is a man who abducted teenage kids and raped and killed them. That scum robbed me of my only son. My name, my family name dies with me. There will be no more Delacroixs, Sister. No more.

Conflicting goods, let’s call them.

Sister Helen: Do you ever read the Bible?
Matthew: l ain’t much of a Bible reader, but l pick it up from time to time.
Sister Helen: Like W.C. Fields read his Bible.
Matthew: Who?
Sister Helen: W.C. Fields. He used to play this drunken character in the movies. He’s dying and a friend comes and sees him reading the Bible. The friend says, ‘‘W.C., you don’t believe in God. Why are you reading the Bible?’’ And Fields says, ‘‘l’m looking for a loophole.’’

None that I know of. How about you?

Clyde Percy: l just couldn’t bear the thought of them burying that body without making absolutely and positively sure that that was Hope. l called my brother, he’s a dentist. l asked him to go to the funeral home and make an l.D. from dental records. Before he’d stuck his hand into that bag with all that lime in it and fished Hope’s jaw out he’d been against the death penalty. And after that, he was all for it.

See how it works? You believe this. Then you have a profound personal experience and you find yourself believing that instead.

Mary Beth Percy: So, what made you change your mind?
Sister Helen: Change my mind?
Mary Beth Percy:What made you come around to our side?
Sister Helen: l wanted to come and see if l could help y’all and pray with you. But he asked me to be his spiritual adviser, to be with him when he dies.
Mary Beth Percy:: And what did you say?
Sister Helen: That l would.
Mary Beth Percy: We thought you’d changed your mind. We thought that’s why you were here.
Sister Helen: No.
Clyde Percy: How can you come here? How can you do that? How can you sit with that scum?
Sister Helen: Mr. Percy, l’ve never done this before. l’m trying…l’m trying to follow the example of Jesus who said that every person is worth more than their worst act.
Clyde Percy: This is not a person. This is an animal. No, l take that back. Animals don’t rape and murder their own kind! Matthew Poncelet is God’s mistake. And you want to hold the poor murderer’s hand? You want to comfort him when he dies? There wasn’t anybody in the woods to comfort Hope when those two animals pushed her face into the grass!
Sister Helen: l just want to help him take responsibility for what he did.
Mary Beth Percy: Does he admit to what he did? ls he sorry?
Sister Helen: He says he didn’t kill anybody.
Clyde Percy: Sister, you’re in waters way over your head.
Mary Beth Percy: You don’t know what it’s like to carry a child in your womb and give birth and get up with a sick child in the middle of the night. You just pray and get a good night’s sleep don’t you.
Clyde Percy: My parents raised me to respect the religious. But Sister, I think you need to leave this house right now.
Sister Helen: l’m sorry.
[she turns to leave the house]
Clyde Percy: Wait a minute! lf you really are sorry and do care about this family you’ll want to see justice done for our murdered child! Now, you can’t have it both ways! You can’t befriend that murderer and expect to be our friend too.
Mary Beth Percy: You brought the enemy into our house. You gotta go.

Okay, logically, who…wins?

Matthew being interviewed on TV: I had two families. Both of them I’d love and die for.
Interviewer: Your other family is… ?
Matthew: The family of man. Of men in prison. My white family, the Aryan Brotherhood.
Interviewer: You’re a white supremacist? A follower of Hitler?
Matthew: He was a leader. I admire him for getting things done. Like Castro, he got things done. Hitler might have gone overboard on the killing but he was on the right track about the Aryans being the master race.
Interviewer: The right track? The murder of 6 million Jews?
Matthew: That’s never been proven.
Sister Helen [listening at home]: What am l doing with this guy? l must be nuts.

I’d say so. Here and now.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.

A few of them might even be funny.

The limits of my language means the limits of my world.

If that doesn’t encompass objectivism, what does?

I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.

Unless, perhaps, you are your own worst enemy?

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

If only on this side of the grave?

Hell isn’t other people. Hell is yourself.

And then one day you realize it’s both. Or, rather, I did.

The real question of life after death isn’t whether or not it exists, but even if it does what problem this really solves.

On the other hand, if you’re not enjoying yourself…?