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2.23.2013

Movies and Our Existential Plight

The Time Robot xkcd strip makes an excellent point about movie plots:


we impose narratives on life's random chaos to distract us from our existential plight

Philosophically, it seems, Randall and I are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The comic above, for example, focuses squarely on the inevitability of death (though, paradoxically, in comedic form). Seen this way, entertaining movies--like Terminator--are mere diversions to help us ignore our ultimate, meaningless end.

I see stories, film or otherwise, as more a reminder of the continuity of life. Indeed, as C.S. Lewis points out again and again, we discover in myth the thing that endures in the constantly changing realm of philosophy. Thus, stories are not dissipations of our momentary existence, but the very thing that gives our fleeting lives meaning. As filmmakers, our movies answer our existential plight by hinting--in one way or another--at the eternal life to come. When seen this way, Terminator becomes a movie that touches on the value of a human life, the importance of human dominion, the sorry state of the world, and the new world to come where suffering is removed in a restored relationship with God. There are important themes like the need for a savior yet a requirement that we act as well (James 2:26).

Thinking, as Randall does, about movies and our existential plight, leads him to the conclusion that we are merely coming up with stories to make us feel better about our lives. I would argue that movies remind us--in subtle, yet powerful ways--that there is more to existence than "crude matter." No, as Yoda says: "Luminous beings are we."

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

NB: xkcd often contains inappropriate content.

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