Dr. Haykin recently went to see M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water. If you scroll down a few posts here at Ruminations you will see that I posted my thoughts on it. In Dr. Haykin’s review of the movie, he took issue with some of my observations. In a manner of complete jest (!), I will “counter” with my thoughts on his thoughts on my thoughts. Remember, I did say I liked it very much!!! :)
The dasein part struck me when, I think it was Cleveland, came to grips with the possibility of dying and it seemed to spur him into action – although it could have been another character. From my understanding of dasein (and Dr. Haykin would know much, much better than I considering he studied Heidegger at great length), all humans just exist – they are “being there.” One does not have “essence” until one realises they are a “being unto death.” Didn’t Kierkegaard and the later existentialists believe that existence precedes essence and that you didn’t have essence until one takes action?
He had mentioned that I labelled existentialism as being absurd. I truly believe that it is. Espcially considering that atheistic existentialism is based upon a nihilistic understanding of the world. Why do anything if all is meaninless? Even Sartre recognised that it was absurd of him to keep writing, but he did so anyway. And the fact that the initial stoner guild had really no official contribution to the tale, they were “just being there.” No real action was taken on their part – they were just beings unto nothingness (I may be stretching it, but it seems apparent). Another existentialist link that I found was in Giamatti’s Cleveland, who reminded me very much of Dr. Rieux from The Plague.
But for the record, existentialism is one of my favourite secular philosophies to read from. Especially the French existentialists like Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus and Merleau-Ponty. I call it absurd because any worldview that does not base itself on the Bible is absurd, no matter how much I may like it!
In my post I also referred to Buddhist elements in the movie. I believe that the old Asian mom was a Buddhist, judging by the statues in the house. There was also an apparent monism evident in the connectedness of the inhabitants of the apartment complex. It all seemed very eastern/New Age to me.
Dr. Haykin is quite right about LOTR not being an allegory. I will hasten to qualify that. Yet I don’t doubt that there are some elements to LOTR that could be dubbed allegorical, much to Tolkien’s dismay. There was some correspondence with reality, shouldn’t that constitute some element of allegory? But surely it wasn’t as blatant as Lewis’. And it is a well-known fact that Tolkien spurned the idea of allegory.
I still stand behind the fact that the names and story line to Lady in the Water were utterly cheesy. Children’s story or not, I just couldn’t get past them. “Tartutic” was alright, but “Narf” and “Scrunt”? Hobbit and Strider are much cooler. I mean, the Narf doesn’t have anything to it that gives you any idea of what it is. Mordor, on the other hand, sounds very ominous, and Hobbit sounds utterly delightful! As I said, I believe Shyamalan was making some sort of statement (maybe about allegories?) by being so blatantly cheesy.
I agree with Dr. Haykin when he expresses his thankfulness that Lady didn’t turn out like The Village in terms of a “natural explanation.” That was both relieving and great; I was quite thankful for that.
I should mention something Dr. Haykin and I surely both agree with, having the Bob Dylan music frequently in the background was great!
I’m very glad that Dr. Haykin and fam liked the movie, Vicky and I did too (in spite of what I said). We’ll have to discuss it over tea!