Mar 22, 2011

Whatever Works (2009): Movie Review *spoilers*

Typical of most of my anachronistic reviews, this has been long overdue.

Like most woody allen fare, the tales of jaded quantum physicist Boris Yellnikoff (Larry David) transpire in New York city, whereto the hypochondriacal misanthrope moves after a failed suicide attempt, relinquishing his professorship at Columbia university and divorcing his wife of many years. This transition is precipitated by his biological decay, his disillusionment with the human condition and the institution of marriage, alongwith the reinforcement of his convictions on the futility of life.

Around his new abode in the lower east side, Boris meets optimists, which includes philosophical scholars and butchers among contrarians of other stripes , who engage with him over crumpets and apple pie on subjects ranging from the Original intentions of Karl Marx to medical malpractice.He also takes to coaching toddlers in the fine game of chess and takes great delight in calling them “cretins” to rake his wherewithal. These activities tide him over from one afternoon to another and appear to make the ordeal he calls life bearable.As he returns one evening from his ritualistic ranting and raving at the bakery, he is affrighted by the fascinatingly dense Melody(Evan Rachel wood), who emerges from under a pile of cardboard boxes and begs for sustenance . Briefly reluctant, Boris begrudgingly relents after kibitzing her lifestyle and offers her shelter for the night and the night alone. 

Mar 18, 2011

A Loner-in-the-world

Imagination consigns one to utter connectedness 
with all else... even amidst apparent isolation
I am hard pressed to conjure a metaphor that might sufficiently and poignantly embody the existence of a loner, a loner in the world, in the strange world of socially actuated indivuduals; 

...a stray note in a harmonic symphony, a system out of sync with the rythm of things around it, an outsider 'peeping in' on socieity, anxious occupant of the vantage point in a solipsistic inner world... perhaps!! 

How married couples without children struggle to anchor thier social intercourse with other couples who have and are preoccupied with children; how an individual who does not marry suddenly runs out of common ground with those around him as they all get hitched; how a student dropping year after school experiences a lessening camaradrie with friends already in college; ...that i reckon is somewhat how a loner feels in the company of those used to having enduring personalized social relationships. 

Just as parent-talk made only idiosyncratic sense to children, leftist talk did to the rightist, scinence-talk to the artist, idealistic-talk to the pragmatist... social talk might make only non-intuitive sense to the loner, even though be it so that he or she fully comprehends it, understands it... just that he or she does not wish to organically partake in it... does not experience life as that!!

He is not self-centred, not ego-maniacal, not delusional neccessarily. He need not be disordered, dysfunctional or pathological. It is quite plausible, and perhaps often the case, that he internalises the social experience of existence on a different ontological register. His representations of other people, and other peoples' relations to other people, are logical, rational, dry, un-dramatic, un-romantic, un-fuzzy but completely empathetic, sincere, honest and imbued with a certain order, structure, function.

Mar 2, 2011

A thing is what it is measured to be: The illusion of immeasurability of existence (A Prelude)

A relatively inflexible, mostly facile but a rigidly stable world-view imbued with certainty is what constitutes the received wisdom for most people .... it is what becomes of their acculturation, their foreclosed attempts to understand life. Whereas for the  ones sophisticated in the habits of thought, it becomes fashionable to brandish a sort of wholesale skepticism which dismisses all philosophical dictums as mere culture-bound prejudices and worse still, rationalizations of the prevailing power relations in the concerned society. While the contribution toward maintenance of civilizational equilibrium of the former is clearly discernible, so is the contribution of the latter toward the occasional revolutionary disruption of that equilibrium that is essential for enabling progress; But what ought also be clearly understood... is that none of them are any the better in their claim to veridicality.

Both these 'epistemic attitudes' represent an obfuscation, of opposite kinds,  of reality - one attributes asphyxiating changelessness to the prevailing notion of reality while the other plunges it into absurd super-fluidity.