Runboard.com
Слава Україні!
Cinemaseekers.com Message Board - Cinemaseekers Forum THE TRUTH ABOUT CINEMA

CINEMASEEKERS FORUM

This forum is meant to be an extension of the themes and concerns of our website. Please keep the focus on spirituality, philosophy and cinema. Thank you!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this forum are the sole responsibility of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the owners of this website (except in postings by the owners themselves under "cinemaseekers" or "questers".)

runboard.com       Sign up (learn about it) | Sign in (lost password?)

 
cinemaseekers Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 7
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
AN EVENING IN FRONT OF THE TUBE


AN EVENING IN FRONT OF THE TUBE
from "Existentialism: The Philosophy of Despair and the Quest for Hope"

by Dr. C. Stephen Evans, Professor of Philosophy Baylor University (used with the author's permission)


It was late-around 1:30 A.M. I was watching a late-night movie on television, a harmless enough diversion. Television is such a marvelous thing, surely the most wonderful means man has ever found to amuse himself. The movie was a diversion from myself, a means of stepping back from the cares and worries of the day. A true child of the twentieth century, I was attempting to put my life at a distance, to place it on the little screen in front of me and enjoy it while it ran past.

But as that movie ended, my life returned to me and, as before, continued to be a problem, or rather a mystery, to me. The mystery was simply: What is the meaning of human existence? This mystery does not merely concern some vague entity called "human existence." The real mystery was my existence: Why did I exist at all?

The movie was a western, filled with deaths and killings and loves that were not real to me. After all, it was only a movie. But somehow one villainous character stuck with me. Charley was a killer who derived a sadistic thrill from killing. His pleasure came from the feeling that each time he killed, he had committed an act that was irreversible. This was a feeling that strongly resembled sexual gratification. It made him aware of the power he possessed within him. Regardless of the feelings of horror and disgust that Charley produced in me, I was struck by the phenomenon he pointed to - some things are irreversible.

Of course death is irreversible. The act that brings about death accomplishes something that cannot be changed. But even the least amount of insight reveals that this phenomenon is not limited to killing. It is a paradigm for every human act, for every act is irreversible; it possesses a finality that our wishes and desires cannot change.

Time also is irreversible. A situation confronts us; we act, and then the thing is settled. I, Stephen Evans, am confronted with the fact that I have a free evening that I can devote to loving and sharing with my wife, to reading and reflection on the subject of immortality, or to watching situation comedies on television. I must choose among my options, or else by not choosing I will choose to do nothing. In any case, after this evening, it will remain true to eternity that Stephen Evans watched television on this particular evening. Time will compel me to go on, leaving me with the responsibility for my action and its consequences.

Time confines and restricts me on all sides. I was born at a particular time and in a particular place. I cannot return to the innocence of boyhood or jump to the placidity of old age. I am right here, now, hedged in by this place and this time.

Time the jailer drags me relentlessly along, however much I kick and struggle against it. His road leads always in one direction-to age and death. Just as I now look back on my boyhood, so someday I will look back on my whole life, perhaps with regret, perhaps with nostalgia. But someday, the jailer willing, I will be old and just as imprisoned by time as I am now. I will be old without choosing to be old and without any possibility of returning to my youth.

I can even picture my old age. Perhaps I will sit in a chair all day long, unable to feed and clothe myself. Then I will know that my life is nearly over. For now, I can disguise the fact that death faces me all the time. I can tell myself that I am relatively young, that death is a long way off because I have a long life ahead of me. But is the difference really so great between a few weeks and a few years? Regardless of whether it will be two weeks or fifty years, it is certain that a time is coming when I will be forced to recognize that my life is completed, finished, done. Time will tell me bluntly that I have lived my life, that I have received my due from the earth.

And then what? That night, after the light on the tube had faded away, I lay back in my bed and stared at the darkened ceiling. I felt time dragging me inexorably toward death. I felt panic like that of a man in a car out of control, hurtling toward a precipice on a dark night, the steering locked, the brakes useless. Ahead loomed a plunge into an unknown abyss. In view of my certain death, what is the meaning of my life? What meaning can time have?

My mind shouted the answers. There is a God! Death is not the end! There must be more! But for a moment my soul did not hear the answers my mind gave. I gazed directly into the jaws of nothingness, and I was filled with a dread inspired by nothing human, the dread inspired by nothing at all, really, or rather by the possibility of my own nothingness. There it was, the abyss yawning in front of me. Time was dragging me closer every hour, every minute, every infinitesimal fraction of a second. I wanted to scream and to flail out against the flux that was sweeping me along, ever nearer.

In the words of a popular song, "Is that all there is?" Are all man's religions and philosophies merely his attempts to deceive himself, to convince himself that life is not the bad joke it really is? Do they stem from a cowardice that refuses to face the bluntness of reality? Are they only another view of life that makes "death" an abstract thing that happens to "everyone," but not something to be faced directly and openly by every individual?
9/28/2003, 10:05 pm Link to this post Send Email to cinemaseekers   Send PM to cinemaseekers
 
matthew dickinson Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info



Registered: 09-2003
Posts: 23
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: AN EVENING IN FRONT OF THE TUBE


It is amusing to me that at the bottom of this article an ad for an "IMMORTALITY DEVICE" was auto-generated by Google. (http://www.alexchiu.com/eternallife/).

emoticon

Matthew
9/29/2003, 4:25 am Link to this post  
 
friendlessvoyage Profile
Live feed
Blog
Friends
Miscellaneous info

Banned user

Registered: 02-2004
Posts: 73
Karma: 0 (+0/-0)
Reply | Quote
Re: AN EVENING IN FRONT OF THE TUBE


quote:

And then what? That night, after the light on the tube had faded away, I lay back in my bed and stared at the darkened ceiling. I felt time dragging me inexorably toward death. I felt panic like that of a man in a car out of control, hurtling toward a precipice on a dark night, the steering locked, the brakes useless. Ahead loomed a plunge into an unknown abyss. In view of my certain death, what is the meaning of my life? What meaning can time have?

My mind shouted the answers. There is a God! Death is not the end! There must be more! But for a moment my soul did not hear the answers my mind gave. I gazed directly into the jaws of nothingness, and I was filled with a dread inspired by nothing human, the dread inspired by nothing at all, really, or rather by the possibility of my own nothingness. There it was, the abyss yawning in front of me. Time was dragging me closer every hour, every minute, every infinitesimal fraction of a second. I wanted to scream and to flail out against the flux that was sweeping me along, ever nearer.



All atheists, and those unsure in their hearts and minds of what occurs to the individual after dying, and all those who contend or suspect nothing happens at all, and that consciousness fades out of focus until there is nothing more, no more experience, no more awareness of themselves and others, as if one is forever asleep without worrisome dreams, should realize the inherent absurdities when accepting this view, for it undermines their position from the start. You see, one must not let their eventual death trouble them, for he or she must live out their existence as if they are to live forever. Humans know no other way of seeing reality, for rarely is it the case that one is in such a situation that they know their death to be around the corner, and even under such a cirumstance the atheist believes he cannot know when he has died due to this belief that death is a state of nothingness.

But this does not mean, as many atheists contend, that believers live out their lives on earth without concerns about sin and the state of worldly affairs because a good afterlife has been granted to them. On the contrary, it makes no sense to put off doing good, improving one's self, and seeking to rise above our animal condition, furthering our understanding of the mystery of life when an infinity stretches before us and ceasing to do good will never be OKed from the Lord. So while the good-intentioned atheist believes his time to do these things to be limited, the Christian literally believes this duty to be a never-ending one.

Matthew

Last edited by friendlessvoyage, 3/30/2004, 8:06 am
3/30/2004, 7:44 am Link to this post Send Email to friendlessvoyage   Send PM to friendlessvoyage
 


Add a reply





You are not logged in (login)