Tuesday, November 25, 2008

There Is No Spoon

There’s an article in the paper today about a new form of mental illness where the sufferer imagines he is the subject of a reality show; more specifically, something akin to The Truman Show, the 1998 Jim Carrey movie whose protagonist’s entire life had been broadcast on television since birth, the ultimate invasion of privacy.

Now, if I could pick something to be delusional about, I think would choose The Matrix. To me, that is far more plausible and practical than The Truman Show, because there no gigantic sound stage with extensive production crew and cast would be needed. It’s all done very neatly in the mind. In fact, realizing you’re in the Matrix with the hope of learning to take advantage of it, as perhaps the dreamer who recognizes he is in a dream might try to fly, could really make life quite interesting and fun. Well, within limits, of course.

I would like to suggest that imagining one’s self in a movie or story, a fantasy that has structure and vitality and where one’s actions and thoughts inevitably lead to something, is healthy. Are we not all the main characters of our lives anyway? It is so easy to think two things: that we are drifting and our outcomes are hazy and ill-defined; or, conversely, that we are locked into existences that are hopelessly numbing and routine, like ants in a colony. Why not see ourselves from the perspective of a cinematographer and become everymen made special, like Marty, complete with soundtrack and supporting cast? There are worse delusions than that, I’m sure. Even the most humdrum life could seem interesting and meaningful, and that’s not really a bad thing, is it?

Would you like voice-over narration? Black and white or Technicolor? And how about director? Probably be wiser to go with Spielberg over Tarrantino there. John Williams would be a popular choice for composer certainly. All in all, not a bad way to function.

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People make fun of those online, virtual reality relationships we’ve been hearing about in the news, where one can cyberdate, engage in cybersex, join in cybermarriage, get a quicky cyberdivorce, and even commit a cybermurder. Proponents of this brand of virtual reality suggest there is, when you come right down to it, no substantial difference between that and real reality, the latter being something philosophers since Aristotle and Plato have been very hard-pressed to define. This humble blogger would like to point out that there is nothing more virtual reality than this vast, global economic meltdown we’re experiencing, which, to my naive eye, amounts to a monumental maelstrom of abstract numbers and formulae and algorithms and “financial instruments” that have been thrown willy nilly from one computer to the next with no thought to where it all might lead. How can capital asset pricing models, free riding, convertible securities, Macaulay durations, anticipatory hedging, mortgage backed securities, accumulated depreciation, ratio spreads, and toxic waste swaps be real? Someone had to make all that stuff up! Things didn’t get this way because a sheep was traded for a millstone, it was because one imaginary thing was traded for another. All it took was for two parties to agree that such a thing as a “derivative” truly exists. Is this the way for intelligent, well-educated people to behave?

Okay, okay, that might have been a bit simplistic, but you see what I mean.

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Over and out.

16 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

I think we are totally part of some big experiment or computer simulation. Science advances us more and more to that very conclusion. Everything about our universe is numbers and equations. We're Sims!

It's all a test to see if we can break out before the clock runs out. Then, as Jim Morrison said, the whole shithouse goes up in flames. Get off the earth or die with it.

I don't think there is any difference between reality and imagination, only by degree of belief. Happiness is a choice; it's the ability to bask in the radiance of the moment without baggage. The mentally retarded boy that sits in the park laughing at a squirrel chasing nuts has it way better than the Wall Street Exec tripping on an overdose of Peets Coffee (I said NON-FAT, NO FOAM!) and No-Doz--but ironically the latter feels sorry for the former.

9:27 AM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

The truest song in the world is Row Row Row Your Boat.

And I agree about the economic mess. It's all made up arbitrary bull that so called smart people came up to make money from nothing. Sadly, the real world ramifications screw over the people that don't deal in abstracts. Maybe if we all concentrate hard enough, we can will it all away? ;)

10:25 AM  
Blogger LL said...

You still deal in abstracts P...

As for my life... I'd say Sergio Leone would direct and the soundtrack would have to be by Ennio Morricone.

4:59 PM  
Blogger Farrago said...

I think my life is being directed by Ed Wood.

Alternatively, what?

7:58 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

"You still deal in abstracts P..."

Not voluntarily. Usually.

10:36 AM  
Blogger tiff said...

Sign me up for Tim Burton as director.

Danny Elfman can do the music.

5:45 PM  
Blogger trinamick said...

I'm pretty sure Woody Allen has been directing my life. That's not okay.

"Propel, propel, propel your craft
docilely down the solution
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically
Existence is but an illusion..."

7:52 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I'd choose Danny Elfman as the composer of my movie.

I can't talk about the current economic condition w/o getting very upset. Bloody stupid freaking people.

4:03 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Oh, and for the record, I didn't read the comments before I commented, therefore I did NOT copy Tiff.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I went to say that I didn't want to seem so melodramatic in my comments and BAM ... there you were!

Tim Burton's too busy doing MY movie, Tiff. Damn it, Danny Elfman too? Both my favorites and she stole them. STOLE THEM I SAY.

Oh man, so did Kathleen. Blargh.

Well, they're geniuses. They can multi-task.

Financial messes happen because people, good or bad, smart or stupid, want more than they need and are willing to not pay cash for it.

And I am on hiatus. HOW DARE YOU WRITE A POST WHILST I AM ON A BLOG VACATION! Well, this is the only blog I'm visiting. (The way to kill a dream thing killed me though. I only wish you'd come back daily or even weekly in 2009.) :o)

1:39 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Here it is 2009 and no Schprock. I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and an uproarious New Year and that in some semi-drunken state you made a pact with Satan or an oath to God (whichever you prefer) to update blog weekly.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I see I was wrong about the pact or oath. I'm not happy about that fact.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Happy Groundhog's Day you Blogging Recluse, You! Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow at Gobbler's Knob. Let's be honest, I'm not a bigot as I have 2 gay brothers and all, but doesn't Gobbler's Knob sound like a gay Hobbit bar? It does, doesn't it?

I may blog about that one. I know I'm not alone with that thought. :D

6:41 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

(no, I don't give up)

6:20 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Damn it, I'm late. Oh well -- Happy St. Pat's!!!

10:42 AM  
Blogger trinamick said...

For pete's sake, even I've updated since you. I mean, no pressure, but geez!

11:56 AM  

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